Genetics of Meiosis in Mice

A major project in the  lab concerns the genetics of chromosome recombination and segregation in meiosis.  The Schimenti lab was the first to use large scale forward genetics to isolate reproduction mutants and clone the responsible genes. These and reverse genetic experiments led to the identification of genes required for key meiotic events including double strand break (DSB) formation, crossing over, chromosome cohesion, chromosome synapsis, transcriptional regulation, and different types of recombination. Studies of these genes are ongoing, but we are also utilizing the unique mutant collection to explore other key events in meiosis.  One major direction in my lab now is to characterize the mechanisms and genes that govern “quality control” in meiosis, which is critical to prevention of aneuploidy, mutation and birth defects.  In particular, we are concentrating on defining proteins and genes that monitor and govern the progress of recombination and synapsis of chromosomes, and also the choice of recombination partner (e.g, sister chromatid vs. homologous chromosome).  To these ends, we are using a combination of genetics, molecular biology, and proteomics.

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