PerspectiveMolecular Biology

RNA Plays Meiotic Matchmaker

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Science  11 May 2012:
Vol. 336, Issue 6082, pp. 681-682
DOI: 10.1126/science.1222647

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Most eukaryotic cells contain two homologous sets of chromosomes, one inherited from each parent. Meiosis, the cell division process required for sexual reproduction, involves a single round of DNA replication and two successive rounds of cell division. A hallmark of meiosis is the pairing of homologous chromosomes, which enables them to recombine and then separate from each other. Despite recent progress in understanding the forces that promote chromosome interactions, the molecular basis for homologous chromosome recognition—even the temporal and spatial scales on which it acts—are still mysterious. On page 732 in this issue, Ding et al. (1) describe a pairing mechanism in which RNA mediates homologous chromosome association during meiosis in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe.