Indiscriminate synapsis in achiasmate Allium fistulosum L. (Liliaceae)

Glyn Jenkins, A Okumus

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30 Citations (Scopus)


Seedlings of Allium fistulosum (2n=2x=16) were treated with aqueous colchicine with the intention of inducing tetraploidy. One treated, but undoubted, diploid mutant is described which consistently fails to form any chiasmata at diakinesis and metaphase I of meiosis. Electron microscopy of whole-mount surface-spread synaptonemal complex complements of pollen mother cell nuclei revealed that the achiasmate condition is probably due not only to the failure to complete synapsis, but also to the indiscriminate way in which the chromosomes form synaptonemal complexes during meiotic prophase. Synapsis begins and progresses with complete disregard to homology, with frequent exchanges of pairing partners resulting in the formation of multiple associations comprising heterologous chromosomes. Intrachromosomal synapsis is also evident as fold-back loops. Up to 78% of lateral element length is incorporated into synaptonemal complex, the morphology of which is not unlike that of normal A. fistulosum and other Alliumspecies described previously. However, all the synaptonemal complexes are ineffective in terms of supporting chiasmata, since 16 univalents enter metaphase I and disjoin irregularly at anaphase I. The mutant is as a consequence completely male sterile. The synaptic behaviour observed confirms that the recognition of homology is an independent process and not a prerequisite for synaptonemal complex formation. It is hoped this mutant will be a valuable tool for probing the molecular basis of homology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)415-422
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Cell Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 01 Oct 1992


  • Achiasmate
  • Allium fistulosum
  • Synaptonemal complex


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