Meiotic versus mitotic recombination: two different routes for double-strand break repair: the different functions of meiotic versus mitotic DSB repair are reflected in different pathway usage and different outcomes

Bioessays. 2010 Dec;32(12):1058-66. doi: 10.1002/bies.201000087. Epub 2010 Oct 21.


Studies in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae have validated the major features of the double-strand break repair (DSBR) model as an accurate representation of the pathway through which meiotic crossovers (COs) are produced. This success has led to this model being invoked to explain double-strand break (DSB) repair in other contexts. However, most non-crossover (NCO) recombinants generated during S. cerevisiae meiosis do not arise via a DSBR pathway. Furthermore, it is becoming increasingly clear that DSBR is a minor pathway for recombinational repair of DSBs that occur in mitotically-proliferating cells and that the synthesis-dependent strand annealing (SDSA) model appears to describe mitotic DSB repair more accurately. Fundamental dissimilarities between meiotic and mitotic recombination are not unexpected, since meiotic recombination serves a very different purpose (accurate chromosome segregation, which requires COs) than mitotic recombination (repair of DNA damage, which typically generates NCOs).

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chromosome Segregation
  • Crossing Over, Genetic
  • DNA Breaks, Double-Stranded*
  • DNA Damage
  • DNA Repair / genetics*
  • Meiosis / genetics*
  • Mitosis / genetics*
  • Mutation
  • Recombination, Genetic*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism