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DMC1 is a new meiosis-specific yeast gene. Dmc1 protein is structurally similar to
bacterial RecA proteins. dmc1 mutants are defective in reciprocal recombination, accumulate
double-strand break (DSB) recombination intermediates, fail to form normal synaptonemal
complex (SC), and arrest late in meiotic prophase. dmc1 phenotypes are consistent
with a functional relationship between Dmc1 and RecA, and thus eukaryotic and prokaryotic
mechanisms for homology recognition and strand exchange may be related. dmc1 phenotypes
provide further evidence that recombination and SC formation are interrelated processes
and are consistent with a requirement for DNA-DNA interactions during SC formation.
dmc1 mutations confer prophase arrest. Additional evidence suggests that arrest occurs
at a meiosis-specific cell cycle "checkpoint" in response to a primary defect in prophase
chromosome metabolism. DMC1 is homologous to yeast's RAD51 gene, supporting the view
that mitotic DSB repair has been recruited for use in meiotic chromosome metabolism.