The centromere is an essential structure on all eukaryotic chromosomes that allows the equipartition of chromosomes during mitotic and meiotic cell divisions. Since its cytogenetic recognition as a constructed part of a chromosome many decades ago, great advance has been made on our understanding of this intriguing structure, especially at the molecular level. This book brings together all available information on the centromere. It covers in details the DNA and protein components of this structure, and their individual functions, in species as diverse as budding and fission yeasts, nematodes, Drosophila, mice, and humans; newly discovered roles of the centromere in marshalling "passenger" proteins; important emerging concepts such as latest centromeres and epigenetic factors; cytogenetic problems associated with centromere abnormalities; and practical application of centromere studies, such as in the construction of human artificial chromosomes for gene therapy. Supported by ample illustration, the book is written with sufficient simplicity and detail to suit both specialist and non-specialist scholars. It is the first book on the subject.