Genome Haploidization Unit
Meiosis is a special type of cell division that is restricted to the germ line. Meiosis is the basis for sexual reproduction in that it enables the generation of haploid cells. Furthermore, it represents the largest source of genetic variability. Errors in meiosis are a major cause of aneuploidy and fertility problems also in humans. A major focus of interest in our lab has been the synaptonemal complex, a chromosomal structure of meiotic cells that mediates synapsis of homologous chromosomes and is essential for proper recombination. Currently, we are comparing the structure, composition and dynamics of the SC of mammals and basal metazoans (i.e. hydra). A direct comparison of results in hydra and mammals would provide deep insight into the essential features of meiosis over the last 600 million years of metazoan evolution.