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Chromosome Res. 2005;13(5):535-48.

Telomere maintenance, function and evolution: the yeast paradigm.

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Laboratoire de Biologie Moléculaire de la Cellule of Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, UMR CNRS/INRA/ENS, IFR 128 BioSciences Lyon Gerland, 46 Allée d'Italie, 69364 Lyon cedex 07, France.


Telomeres are multifunctional genetic elements that cap chromosome ends, playing essential roles in genome stability, chromosome higher-order organization and proliferation control. The telomere field has largely benefited from the study of unicellular eukaryotic organisms such as yeasts. Easy cultivation in laboratory conditions and powerful genetics have placed mainly Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Kluveromyces lactis and Schizosaccharomyces pombe as crucial model organisms for telomere biology research. Studies in these species have made it possible to elucidate the basic mechanisms of telomere maintenance, function and evolution. Moreover, comparative genomic analyses show that telomeres have evolved rapidly among yeast species and functional plasticity emerges as one of the driving forces of this evolution. This provides a precious opportunity to further our understanding of telomere biology.

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