The evolution of meiosis: recruitment and modification of somatic DNA-repair proteins

Bioessays. 2005 Aug;27(8):795-808. doi: 10.1002/bies.20264.


Several DNA-damage detection and repair mechanisms have evolved to repair double-strand breaks induced by mutagens. Later in evolutionary history, DNA single- and double-strand cuts made possible immune diversity by V(D)J recombination and recombination at meiosis. Such cuts are induced endogenously and are highly regulated and controlled. In meiosis, DNA cuts are essential for the initiation of homologous recombination, and for the formation of joint molecule and crossovers. Many proteins that function during somatic DNA-damage detection and repair are also active during homologous recombination. However, their meiotic functions may be altered from their somatic roles through localization, posttranslational modifications and/or interactions with meiosis-specific proteins. Presumably, somatic repair functions and meiotic recombination diverged during evolution, resulting in adaptations specific to sexual reproduction. (c) 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • BRCA1 Protein / metabolism
  • BRCA2 Protein / metabolism
  • Base Pair Mismatch
  • Chromosomes / ultrastructure
  • DNA / metabolism
  • DNA Damage
  • DNA Repair
  • Humans
  • Meiosis*
  • Mice
  • Models, Biological
  • Models, Genetic
  • Mutation
  • Phosphorylation
  • Recombination, Genetic
  • Time Factors
  • VDJ Recombinases / metabolism


  • BRCA1 Protein
  • BRCA2 Protein
  • DNA
  • VDJ Recombinases