Chromosome Research

, Volume 15, Issue 5, pp 579–589 | Cite as

Dissecting the mammalian synaptonemal complex using targeted mutations

  • Yael Costa
  • Howard J. Cooke


In many organisms completion of the first meiotic cell division depends on the correct assembly and disassembly of the synaptonemal complex (SC). This is a structure discovered a little over 50 years ago, which is formed by the close association of axes of homologous sister chromatid pairs. Its structure varies between organisms, although it retains a common tripartite organization in species as evolutionarily distant as budding yeast and humans. In mammals it is essential for crossover formation and completion of meiosis. Components of the mammalian SC have been identified only in the last 15 years, and mouse genetic approaches have started revealing the importance for this structure only in the past 5 years. Here we discuss the progress that has been made in the field of the mammalian SC and what approaches could be considered for its further study.

Key words

meiosis synaptonemal complex 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Developmental Genetics and Stem Cell ResearchMRC National Institute for Medical ResearchLondonUK
  2. 2.Medical Research Council Human Genetics UnitWestern General HospitalEdinburghUK

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