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J Exp Bot. 2003 Jan;54(380):11-23.

Meiosis, recombination and chromosomes: a review of gene isolation and fluorescent in situ hybridization data in plants.

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  • 1Department of Biology, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester LE1 7RH, UK.


Evidence is now increasing that many functions and processes of meiotic genes are similar in yeast and higher eukaryotes. However, there are significant differences and, most notably, yeast has considerably higher recombination frequencies than higher eukaryotes, different cross-over interference and possibly more than one pathway for recombination, one late and one early. Other significant events are the timing of double-strand breaks (induced by Spo11) that could be either cause or consequence of homologous chromosome synapsis and SC formation depending on the organisms, yeast plants and mammals versus Drosophila melanogaster and Caenorhabditis elegans. Many plant homologues and heterologues to meiotic genes of yeast and other organisms have now been isolated, in particular in Arabidopsis thaliana, showing that overall recombination genes are very conserved while synaptonemal complex and cohesion proteins are not. In addition to the importance of unravelling the meiotic processes by gene discovery, this review discusses the significance of chromatin packaging, genome organization, and distribution of specific repeated DNA sequences for homologous chromosome cognition and pairing, and the distribution of recombination events along the chromosomes.

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