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The Absence Of The Somatic Association Of Centromeres Of Homologous Chromosomes In Grass Mitotic Metaphases

J. S. Heslop-Harrison, J. B. Smith, M. Bennett
Published 2004 · Biology

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Root-tip metaphases from Hordeum vulgare (19 cells), H. marinum (11 cells), Aegilops umbellulata (10 cells) and Zea mays (10 cells) were completely reconstructed from electron micrographs of serially sectioned nuclei. The identity of each chromosome was found by measuring the volumes of its two arms and the presence or absence of a secondary constriction at the nucleolar organising region. With the position of the centromere in three dimensions, these data were used to analyse the relative positions of homologous and heterologous centromeres. In 31 out of the 50 cells analysed, homologues were on average further apart than heterologues. Except for two nucleolar organising chromosomes, there was no evidence of any tendency for the distances between different homologue types to be differently distributed from distances between heterologues. Average distances between homologues of the single nucleolar organising chromosome (linkage group 6) of Zea (2n = 20) were lower than the average for heterologues and the interhomologue distances were distributed significantly differently from the separation distances of chromosome 6 to other chromosomes. Presumably this association occurred because of nucleolar fusion in the previous interphase. Homologues of one of the two nucleolar organising chromosomes of A. umbellulata were also distributed significantly differently from heterologues, with a tendency for homologues to lie farther apart than the average heterologous pair. These results do not support previous work using squashed and spread metaphase preparations (some including abnormal, marked chromosomes) for these species.
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