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Trends Genet. 2008 Nov;24(11):564-73. doi: 10.1016/j.tig.2008.08.006. Epub 2008 Sep 18.

Changing partners: moving from non-homologous to homologous centromere pairing in meiosis.

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Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, 347 UCB, Colorado Avenue, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309-0347, USA.


Reports of centromere pairing in early meiotic cells have appeared sporadically over the past thirty years. Recent experiments demonstrate that early centromere pairing occurs between non-homologous centromeres. As meiosis proceeds, centromeres change partners, becoming arranged in homologous pairs. Investigations of these later centromere pairs indicate that paired homologous centromeres are actively associated rather than positioned passively, side-by-side. Meiotic centromere pairing has been observed in organisms as diverse as mice, wheat and yeast, indicating that non-homologous centromere pairing in early meiosis and active homologous centromere pairing in later meiosis might be themes in meiotic chromosome behavior. Moreover, such pairing could have previously unrecognized roles in mediating chromosome organization or architecture that impact meiotic segregation fidelity.

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