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Background: This gene encodes a member of the kleisin family of SMC (structural maintenance of chromosome) protein partners. The protein localizes to the axial elements of chromosomes during meiosis in both oocytes and spermatocytes. In the mouse, the homologous protein is a key component of the meiotic cohesion complex, which regulates sister chromatid cohesion and recombination between homologous chromosomes. Multiple alternatively spliced variants, encoding the same protein, have been found for this gene.