Indexed on: 30 Jul '17Published on: 30 Jul '17Published in: Science China Life Sciences
Meiosis is a specialized eukaryotic cell division, in which diploid cells undergo a single round of DNA replication and two rounds of nuclear division to produce haploid gametes. In most eukaryotes, the core events of meiotic prophase I are chromosomal pairing, synapsis and recombination. To ensure accurate chromosomal segregation, homologs have to identify and align along each other at the onset of meiosis. Although much progress has been made in elucidating meiotic processes, information on the mechanisms underlying chromosome pairing is limited in contrast to the meiotic recombination and synapsis events. Recent research in many organisms indicated that centromere interactions during early meiotic prophase facilitate homologous chromosome pairing, and functional centromere is a prerequisite for centromere pairing such as in maize. Here, we summarize the recent achievements of chromosome pairing research on plants and other organisms, and outline centromere interactions, nuclear chromosome orientation, and meiotic cohesin, as main determinants of chromosome pairing in early meiotic prophase.