Organisms that reproduce sexually must reduce their chromosome number by half during meiosis to generate haploid gametes. To achieve this reduction in ploidy, organisms must devise strategies to couple sister chromatids so that they stay together during the first meiotic division (when homologous chromosomes separate) and then segregate away from one another during the second division. Here we review recent findings that shed light on how Caenorhabditis elegans, an organism with holocentric chromosomes, deals with these challenges of meiosis by differentiating distinct chromosomal subdomains and remodeling chromosome structure during prophase. Furthermore, we discuss how features of chromosome organization established during prophase affect later chromosome behavior during the meiotic divisions. Finally, we illustrate how analysis of holocentric meiosis can inform our thinking about mechanisms that operate on monocentric chromosomes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental Biology