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A Conserved Checkpoint Monitors Meiotic Chromosome Synapsis in Caenorhabditis elegans

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Science  09 Dec 2005:
Vol. 310, Issue 5754, pp. 1683-1686
DOI: 10.1126/science.1117468

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Abstract

We report the discovery of a checkpoint that monitors synapsis between homologous chromosomes to ensure accurate meiotic segregation. Oocytes containing unsynapsed chromosomes selectively undergo apoptosis even if a germline DNA damage checkpoint is inactivated. This culling mechanism is specifically activated by unsynapsed pairing centers, cis-acting chromosome sites that are also required to promote synapsis in Caenorhabditis elegans. Apoptosis due to synaptic failure also requires the C. elegans homolog of PCH2, a budding yeast pachytene checkpoint gene, which suggests that this surveillance mechanism is widely conserved.

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