Female Germ Cell Aneuploidy and Embryo Death in Mice Lacking the Meiosis-Specific Protein SCP3

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Science  10 May 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5570, pp. 1115-1118
DOI: 10.1126/science.1070594

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Aneuploidy (trisomy or monosomy) is the leading genetic cause of pregnancy loss in humans and results from errors in meiotic chromosome segregation. Here, we show that the absence of synaptonemal complex protein 3 (SCP3) promotes aneuploidy in murine oocytes by inducing defective meiotic chromosome segregation. The abnormal oocyte karyotype is inherited by embryos, which die in utero at an early stage of development. In addition, embryo death in SCP3-deficient females increases with advancing maternal age. We found that SCP3 is required for chiasmata formation and for the structural integrity of meiotic chromosomes, suggesting that altered chromosomal structure triggers nondisjunction. SCP3 is thus linked to inherited aneuploidy in female germ cells and provides a model system for studying age-dependent degeneration in oocytes.

  • * Present address: Molecular Sciences, Astra Zeneca R&D, SE-151 85 Södertälje, Sweden.

  • To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: christer.hoog{at}

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