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Chromosome Res. 2007;15(5):667-79.

Telomere regulation and function during meiosis.

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Radiation Oncology and Biology, University of Oxford, Churchill Hospital, Oxford, OX3 7LJ, UK.


Telomeres are essential for genomic stability and their dysfunction has been implicated in cancer and ageing. The most prominent function of the telomeres is to protect chromosome ends against degradation and fusion, which, in turn, requires maintenance of telomere DNA to a critical length that allows assembly of end-capping structures. During early meiosis, telomeres play the distinctive function of anchoring chromosomes to the inner nuclear membrane. Subsequently, as a consequence of the nuclear membrane polarization, telomeres cluster together into a bouquet configuration, which facilitates pairing and recombination of the homologous chromosomes. Here we review how the two fundamental aspects of telomere maintenance, elongation and protection, contribute to the essential functions performed by telomeres during meiosis.

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