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        One way genetic mutations

        occur during formation of

        eggs and sperm

        Sometimes the best way to understand a biological process is to disrupt the
        normal process and analyze the result.

             hat’s why Sloan Kettering       molecular level,” says first author   together to create an embryo with a
             Institute (SKI) researchers     Agnieszka Lukaszewicz, a senior     full set of chromosomes.
        Tused a strain of mutant mice        research scientist working in the lab
        as a means to uncover new clues      of Maria Jasin, a member in SKI’s   A crucial part of meiosis occurs
        about the process of meiosis, which   Developmental Biology Program.     when both strands of DNA break
        forms eggs and sperm (also known     “We have new insights about what    in the same place and then are
        as germ cells). The investigators    happens when something goes         repaired by a process called
        learned how breaks in DNA can        wrong.”                             recombination. About 300 of these
        lead to unanticipated types of                                           double-strand breaks occur around
        harmful mutations. Understanding     Managing DNA Breaks to Prevent      the genome during the normal
        how mutations arise in germ cells is   Errors                            formation of egg and sperm cells.
        important because they can cause                                         The breaks ensure that the parents’
        miscarriages and genetic diseases.   Thanks to meiosis, children inherit   DNA can be halved, while also
        The research was published           an equal amount of genetic material   resulting in genetic variation in the
        November 17, 2021, in Cell.          from each parent. But each sperm    offspring.
                                             or egg cell contains only half of
        “This research has enabled us to     the parent’s DNA. After an egg                                7
        learn more about meiosis at the      is fertilized, the two halves come

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