The ultimate success of cell division relies on the accurate partitioning of the genetic material. Errors in this process occur in nearly all tumors and are the leading cause of miscarriages and congenital birth defects in humans. Two cell divisions, mitosis and meiosis, use common as well as unique mechanisms to ensure faithful chromosome segregation. In mitosis, alternating rounds of DNA replication and chromosome segregation preserve the chromosome complement of the progenitor cell. In contrast, during meiosis two consecutive rounds of nuclear division, meiosis I and meiosis II, follow a single round of DNA replication to reduce the chromosome complement by half. Meiosis likely evolved through changes to the mitotic cell division program. This review will focus on the recent findings describing the modifications that transform mitosis into meiosis.
Copyright © 2013. Published by Elsevier Ltd.