The rapidly evolving field of plant centromeres

Anne E. Hall, Kevin C. Keith, Sarah E. Hall, Gregory P. Copenhaver, Daphne Preuss

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Meiotic and mitotic chromosome segregation are highly conserved in eukaryotic organisms, yet centromeres - the chromosomal sites that mediate segregation - evolve extremely rapidly. Plant centromeres have DNA elements that are shared across species, yet they diverge rapidly through large- and small-scale changes. Over evolutionary time-scales, centromeres migrate to non-centromeric regions and, in plants, heterochromatic knobs can acquire centromere activity. Discerning the functional significance of these changes will require comparative analyses of closely related species. Combined with functional assays, continued efforts in plant genomics will uncover key DNA elements that allow centromeres to retain their role in chromosome segregation while allowing rapid evolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)108-114
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Plant Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • BAC
  • Bacterial artificial chromosome
  • CEN4
  • CENP-A
  • CRM
  • CRR
  • Centromere protein-A
  • Centromere-specific retrotransposon of maize
  • Centromere-specific retrotransposon of rice
  • Centromere4
  • FISH
  • Fluorescent in situ hybridization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


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