There is increasing interest in the role of replication fork arrest and collapse in stimulating genomic instability. Changes in the copy number of the rDNA repeats mediated by homologous recombination has been linked to programmed replication fork barriers (RFBs) and this has been proposed to serve as a paradigm to help understand the links between replication and recombination. Here we review recent advances in our understanding of the initiation and regulation rDNA recombination and discuss historical observations in the context of recently developed models. We contrast the outcome of replication fork arrest at the rDNA RFB with those at an alternative RFB and suggest that, while there are potential similarities in response, there are also important differences which reflect the highly specialised nature of rDNA metabolism. © 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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