Submitted to: Current Genomics
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/7/2007
Publication Date: 5/1/2007
Citation: Cai, X., Xu, S.S. 2007. Meiosis-Driven Genome Variation in Plants. Current Genomics. 8:151-161.
Technical Abstract: Meiosis includes two successive divisions of the nucleus with one round of DNA replication and leads to the formation of gametes with half the chromosomes of the mother cell during sexual reproduction. It provides a cytological basis for gametogenesis and inheritance in eukaryotes. Meiotic cell division is a complex and dynamic process that involves a number of molecular and cellular events, such as DNA and chromosome replication, chromosome pairing, synapsis and recombination, chromosome segregation, and cytokinesis. Meiosis maintains genome stability and integrity over sexual life cycles. On the other hand, meiosis generates genome variations in several ways. Variant meiotic recombination resulting from specific genome structures induces deletions, duplications, and other rearrangements within the genic and non-genic genomic regions and has been considered a major driving force for gene and genome evolution in nature. Meiotic abnormalities in chromosome segregation lead to chromosomally imbalanced gametes and aneuploidy. Meiotic restitution due to failure of the first or second meiotic division gives rise to unreduced gametes, which triggers polyploidization and genome expansion. This paper reviews research regarding meiosis-driven genome variation, including deletion and duplication of genomic regions, aneuploidy, and polyploidization, and discusses the effect of related meiotic events on genome variation and evolution in plants. Knowledge of various meiosis-driven genome variations provides insight into genome evolution and genetic variability in plants and facilitates plant genome research.