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Biocell. 2002 Apr;26(1):1-13.

Primitive forms of meiosis: the possible evolution of meiosis.

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Centro de Investigaciones en Reproducción, Facultad de Medicina (UBA), Buenos Aires (1121), Argentina.


Meiosis is a basic process of most eukaryotes, as it forms with conjugation the basis of sexual reproduction. As sex seems to be present in the vast majority of eukaryotes, the origin of meiosis is presently unknown. Protists having optional or alternative sexual and asexual cycles seem to be the best targets for research on the evolution of meiosis. While the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae shows an elaborate and well-known meiotic process, the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe, has a much simpler meiosis, which may show some of the most primitive features of meiotic mechanisms. The present availability of whole genome sequences of many bacteria and some protists is revealing that eukaryotic sexual reproduction has recruited some prokaryotic processes for its own development. Some of these processes are analyzed and the basic role of chromosome linearity and telomere constitution in the development of meiosis is underlined.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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