Faithful transfer of genetic material is critical for the success of all cell divisions. Yet, as the organism ages this process becomes more error prone, leading to aneuploidic daughter cells due to mis-segregation of chromosomes. This can lead to cancer in mitotic cells, and in the female germline it leads to reduced fertility and an exponential increase in miscarriages and birth defects already at the forth decade of life. In the germline a special kind of cell division, termed meiosis, reduces the chromosome number by half to create the sperm and eggs by two consecutive chromosome segregations. Aberrant segregations, mainly in the first division is the leading cause for naturally occurring miscarriages and congenital defects.
In the Tzur lab we use high resolution microscopy, novel genome editing tools, and transcriptomic analyses to study the intricate chromosome dynamics that enable the faithful segregations. We focus on chromosome remodeling which is a dramatic structural change the chromosomes undergo at the end of prophase I, and facilitate the disjunction of the homologous chromosomes.
In our research we use the round worm Caenorhabditis elegans as a model organism. One of the many advantages of using C. elegans for meiotic studies is its transparent cuticle, thus we look at the meiotic processes as it progresses in a live eukaryote organism.