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Trends Cell Biol. 2005 Aug;15(8):442-51.

Aneuploidy: a matter of bad connections.

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Department of Biology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 607 Fordham Hall, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.


Proper chromosome segregation is required to maintain the appropriate number of chromosomes from one cell generation to the next and to prevent aneuploidy, the condition in which a cell has gained or lost one or several chromosomes during cell division. Aneuploidy is a hallmark associated with birth defects and cancer, and is observed at relatively high frequencies in human somatic cells. Recent studies in mammalian tissue culture cells suggest that the persistence of kinetochore-microtubule misattachments through mitosis is a major cause of chromosome mis-segregation and aneuploidy. Furthermore, studies in mice and humans suggest that small changes in the expression, rather than complete inactivation, of genes encoding specific proteins might be associated with aneuploidy in living organisms. In this article (which is part of the Chromosome Segregation and Aneuploidy series), we survey the outcome of these studies, focusing on the importance of kinetochore misattachments in producing aneuploid cells.

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