Checkpoints operate during meiosis to ensure the completion of DNA synthesis and programmed recombination before the initiation of meiotic divisions. Studies in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe suggest that the meiotic response to DNA damage due to a failed replication checkpoint response differs substantially from the vegetative response, and may be influenced by the presence of homologous chromosomes. The checkpoint responses to DNA damage during fission yeast meiosis are not well characterized. Here we report that DNA damage induced during meiotic S-phase does not activate checkpoint arrest. We also find that in wild-type cells, markers for DNA breaks can persist at least to the first meiotic division. We also observe increased spontaneous S-phase damage in checkpoint mutants, which is repaired by recombination without activating checkpoint arrest. Our results suggest that fission yeast meiosis is exceptionally tolerant of DNA damage, and that some forms of spontaneous S-phase damage can be repaired by recombination without activating checkpoint arrest.
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