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Genome Dyn Stab. 2008 Jan 1;2:81-123.

Spo11 and the Formation of DNA Double-Strand Breaks in Meiosis.

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Molecular Biology Program, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 1275 York Ave., New York, NY 10021 USA,


Meiotic recombination is carried out through a specialized pathway for the formation and repair of DNA double-strand breaks made by the Spo11 protein, a relative of archaeal topoisomerase VI. This review summarizes recent studies that provide insight to the mechanism of DNA cleavage by Spo11, functional interactions of Spo11 with other proteins required for break formation, mechanisms that control the timing of recombination initiation, and evolutionary conservation and divergence of these processes.

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