Regulating double-stranded DNA break repair towards crossover or non-crossover during mammalian meiosis

Chromosome Res. 2007;15(5):565-77. doi: 10.1007/s10577-007-1140-3.


During meiosis the programmed induction of DNA double-stranded breaks (DSB) leads to crossover (CO) and non-crossover products (NCO). One key role of CO is to connect homologs before metaphase I and thus to ensure the proper reductional segregation. This role implies an accurate regulation of CO frequency with the establishment of at least one CO per chromosome arm. Current major challenges are to understand how CO and NCO formation are regulated and what is the role of NCO. We present here the current knowledge about CO and NCO and their regulation in mammals. CO density varies widely along chromosomes and their distribution is not random as they are subject to positive interference. As documented in the mouse and human, a significant excess of DSB are generated relative to the number of CO. In fact, evidence has been obtained for the formation of NCO products, for regulation of the choice of DSB repair towards CO or NCO and for a CO specific pathway. We discuss the roles of Msh4, Msh5 and Sycp1 which affect DSB repair and probably not only the CO pathway. We suggest that, in mammals, the regulation of NCO differs from that described in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Crossing Over, Genetic
  • DNA Breaks, Double-Stranded*
  • DNA Repair / genetics*
  • DNA Repair / physiology
  • Endodeoxyribonucleases
  • Esterases / genetics
  • Esterases / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meiosis / genetics*
  • Meiosis / physiology
  • Mice
  • Models, Genetic
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics


  • Endodeoxyribonucleases
  • Esterases
  • meiotic recombination protein SPO11