Telomere dynamics unique to meiotic prophase: formation and significance of the bouquet

Cell Mol Life Sci. 2003 Nov;60(11):2319-24. doi: 10.1007/s00018-003-3312-4.


Telomeres carry out conserved and possibly ancient functions in meiosis. During the specialized prophase of meiosis I, meiotic prophase, telomeres cluster on the nuclear envelope and move the diploid genetic material around within the nucleus so that homologous chromosomes can align two by two and efficiently recombine with precision. This recombination is in turn required for proper segregation of the homologs into viable haploid daughter cells. The meiosis-specific telomere clustering on the nuclear envelope defines the bouquet stage, so named for its resemblance to the stems from a bouquet of cut flowers. Here, a comparative analysis of the literature on meiotic telomeres from a variety of different species illustrates that the bouquet is nearly universal among life cycles with sexual reproduction. The bouquet has been well documented for over 100 years, but our understanding of how it forms and how it functions has only recently begun to increase. Early and recent observations document the timing and provide clues about the functional significance of these striking telomere movements.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Meiosis*
  • Nuclear Envelope / ultrastructure
  • Prophase*
  • Telomere / physiology*
  • Telomere / ultrastructure


  • DNA