Control of the meiotic cell division program in plants

T.G. Wijnker, A. Schnittger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


While the question of why organisms reproduce sexually is still a matter of controversy, it is clear that the foundation of sexual reproduction is the formation of gametes with half the genomic DNA content of a somatic cell. This reduction in genomic content is accomplished through meiosis that, in contrast to mitosis, comprises two subsequent chromosome segregation steps without an intervening S phase. In addition, meiosis generates new allele combinations through the compilation of new sets of homologous chromosomes and the reciprocal exchange of chromatid segments between homologues. Progression through meiosis relies on many of the same, or at least homologous, cell cycle regulators that act in mitosis, e.g., cyclin-dependent kinases and the anaphase-promoting complex/cyclosome. However, these mitotic control factors are often differentially regulated in meiosis. In addition, several meiosis-specific cell cycle genes have been identified. We here review the increasing knowledge on meiotic cell cycle control in plants. Interestingly, plants appear to have relaxed cell cycle checkpoints in meiosis in comparison with animals and yeast and many cell cycle mutants are viable. This makes plants powerful models to study meiotic progression and allows unique modifications to their meiotic program to develop new plant-breeding strategies
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-158
JournalPlant Reproduction
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • anaphase-promoting complex/cyclosome
  • cyclin-dependent-kinases
  • genome-wide analysis
  • phd-finger protein
  • arabidopsis-thaliana
  • male meiosis
  • chromosome synapsis
  • fission yeast
  • molecular characterization
  • developmental defects


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