Synaptonemal complex formation in hybrids of Lolium temulentum × Lolium perenne (L.) I: High chiasma frequency diploid

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The chromosomes of Lolium temulentum are longer and contain on average 50% more nuclear DNA than the chromosomes of L. perenne. In the hybrid, despite the difference in length and DNA content, pairing between the homoeologous chromosomes at pachytene is effective and the chiasma frequency at first metaphase in pollen mother cells is high, about 1.6 per bivalent, comparable to that in the L. perenne parent. Electron microscopic observations from reconstructed nuclei at pachytene show that synaptonemal complex (SC) formation in 40% of bivalents is “perfect,” complete and continuous from telomere to telomere. In others, SCs extend from telomere to telomere but incorporate lateral component loops in interstitial chromosome segments. Even in these bivalents, however, pairing is effective in the sense of chiasma formation. The capacity to form “perfect” SCs is achieved by an adjustment of chromosome length differences both before and during synapsis. “Perfect” pairing and SC formation is commoner within the larger bivalents of the complement. At zygotene, in contrast to pachytene, pairing is not confined to homoeologous chromosomes. On the contrary there is “illegitimate” pairing between non-homologous chromsomes resulting in multivalent formation. There must, therefore, be a mechanism operative between zygotene and pachytene that corrects and modifies associations in such a way as to restrict the pairing to bivalents comprised of strictly homoeologous chromosomes. Such a correction bears comparison with that known to apply in allopolyploids. In the hybrid and in the L. perenne parent also, certain specific nucleolar organisers are inactivated at meiosis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-88
Number of pages8
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jun 1985


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