Zhu, J., Heinecke, D., Mulla, W. A., Bradford, W. D., Rubinstein, B., Box, A., Haug, J. S., … Li, R.

Mol Biol Cell. 2016 Mar 15; 27(6): 1015–1025.

Errors in mitosis are a primary cause of chromosome instability (CIN), generating aneuploid progeny cells. Whereas a variety of factors can influence CIN, under most conditions mitotic errors are rare events that have been difficult to measure accurately. Here we report a green fluorescent protein−based quantitative chromosome transmission fidelity (qCTF) assay in budding yeast that allows sensitive and quantitative detection of CIN and can be easily adapted to high-throughput analysis. Using the qCTF assay, we performed genome-wide quantitative profiling of genes that affect CIN in a dosage-dependent manner and identified genes that elevate CIN when either increased (icCIN) or decreased in copy number (dcCIN). Unexpectedly, qCTF screening also revealed genes whose change in copy number quantitatively suppress CIN, suggesting that the basal error rate of the wild-type genome is not minimized, but rather, may have evolved toward an optimal level that balances both stability and low-level karyotype variation for evolutionary adaptation.