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Nat Rev Genet. 2005 Jun;6(6):477-87.

Homologous chromosome interactions in meiosis: diversity amidst conservation.

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The Stowers Institute for Medical Research, 1000 East 50th Street, Kansas City, Missouri 64110, USA.


Proper chromosome segregation is crucial for preventing fertility problems, birth defects and cancer. During mitotic cell divisions, sister chromatids separate from each other to opposite poles, resulting in two daughter cells that each have a complete copy of the genome. Meiosis poses a special problem in which homologous chromosomes must first pair and then separate at the first meiotic division before sister chromatids separate at the second meiotic division. So, chromosome interactions between homologues are a unique feature of meiosis and are essential for proper chromosome segregation. Pairing and locking together of homologous chromosomes involves recombination interactions in some cases, but not in others. Although all organisms must match and lock homologous chromosomes to maintain genome integrity throughout meiosis, recent results indicate that the underlying mechanisms vary in different organisms.

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