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Research Fellows Directory

Eva Hoffmann

Dr Eva Hoffmann

Research Fellow


University of Sussex

Research summary

Sexually reproducing organisms need to reduce the number of chromosomes they contribute to their offspring otherwise, individuals would end up with an exponentially increasing number of chromosomes. Reduction of chromosomes has been described as a 'marriage followed by divorce': First like-for-like chromosomes find each other (pair). Then, they part from each other. Correct parting relies on making connections called crossovers. We are trying to identify how many and what type of genes influence this process as well as understanding what happens to chromosome pairs that fail to cross over. We have recently identified that a protein complex that holds chromosome pairs together both promote crossover formation, whilst simulatenously providing a back-up mechanism that helps chromosome pairs separate (divorce) accurately should crossing over fail. This complex, termed the synaptonemal complex, is important for one or both processes in a number of organisms, including humans. How do chromosomes manage to disentangle from each other prior to their separation? We have identified two genes that promote the disassembly of the synaptonemal complex prior to chromosome pairs being separated. Furthermore, we also find that the chromosomes are tied in knots in another two mutants. Altogether, our findings are providing significant insight into how chromosome behaviour is regulated prior to their separation into gametes.

Grants awarded

Interaction of environmental and genetic factors in meiosis and infertility

Scheme: Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship

Dates: Oct 2005 - Mar 2010

Value: £221,673.97

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