Meiosis is the specialized cell division cycle that gives rise to haploid gametes for sexual reproduction. Given the fundamental importance of meiosis for propagation of species, and the conserved nature of many of the distinct events in meiosis, there is a surprising degree of variation in meiotic regulation across sexually reproducing species. Exploring both these distinct differences, as well as the commonalities in meiotic strategies employed across eukaryotes, is crucial to our understanding of how meiosis is regulated to ensure the production of euploid gametes. Nowhere is this more important than in our own species, in which meiotic defects account for the high rates of infertility, miscarriage, and birth defects, including Trisomy 21 (Down syndrome) and Trisomy 18. Additionally, understanding the fundamental regulatory networks that orchestrate meiosis is key to the development of strategies for improving animal breeding and crop production.
Meiosis encompasses unique molecular processes underlying cell cycle control and checkpoint activation, DNA repair and recombination, chromatin architecture, chromosome movements, and gene expression that exhibit features not seen in any other cell type. Thus, the immense complexity of the meiotic cell cycle can inform a wide variety of biological sub-disciplines, including germ cell biology, DNA repair and cancer, gene regulation and epigenetics, and chromosome dynamics and spindle assembly. The recent rapid rate of progress in understanding this unique cell cycle is due to the emergence of the many different model organisms in which to study meiotic events, coupled with the unprecedented surge in molecular tools and techniques for studying various aspects of the meiotic cell cycle. Thus, this conference will consolidate current understanding of meiosis through comparative investigations across a broad range of eukaryotic species, including protists, fungi, insects, plants, nematodes, and vertebrates. Abstracts are due March 14th, 2022 for consideration for oral or poster presentation. Abstracts for oral presentation may be submitted by faculty or by trainees (with permission from their PIs). Please note, however, that we will prioritize trainees who are currently or about to be on the job market, and only one abstract for oral presentation may be submitted from each lab.
The conference will consist of nine sessions, on the topics listed below. The conference chair is currently developing their preliminary program, which will include the names of the invited speakers and discussion leaders for each of these sessions. The preliminary program will be available by September 5, 2021. Please check back for updates.
- Physical Properties and Organization of the Synaptonemal Complex
- Placement and Induction of Double Strand Breaks (DSB)
- DSB Processing and Pathway Choice
- Chromosome Dynamics, Cohesion and Pairing
- Chromatin Organization, Gene Expression and Epigenetic Control of Meiosis
- Crossover Designation, Maturation and Homeostasis
- Conservation and Diversity of Meiotic Events Across Evolution
- Spindle Assembly, Chromosome Segregation and Checkpoint Control
- Meiotic Drive Mechanisms