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Science 310 (5754): 1683-1686

Copyright © 2005 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

A Conserved Checkpoint Monitors Meiotic Chromosome Synapsis in Caenorhabditis elegans

Needhi Bhalla1,2, and Abby F. Dernburg1,2*

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.

1 Life Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.
2 Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: afdernburg{at}

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