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Genetics. 1993 Jul; 134(3): 749–768.
PMCID: PMC1205513

Two Types of Sites Required for Meiotic Chromosome Pairing in Caenorhabditis Elegans


Previous studies have shown that isolated portions of Caenorhabditis elegans chromosomes are not equally capable of meiotic exchange. These results led to the proposal that a homolog recognition region (HRR), defined as the region containing those sequences enabling homologous chromosomes to pair and recombine, is localized near one end of each chromosome. Using translocations and duplications we have localized the chromosome I HRR to the right end. Whereas the other half of chromosome I did not confer any ability for homologs to pair and recombine, deficiencies in this region dominantly suppressed recombination to the middle of the chromosome. These deletions may have disrupted pairing mechanisms that are secondary to and require an HRR. Thus, the processes of pairing and recombination appear to utilize at least two chromosomal elements, the HRR and other pairing sites. For example, terminal sequences from other chromosomes increase the ability of free duplications to recombine with their normal homologs, suggesting that telomere-associated sequences, homologous or nonhomologous, play a role in facilitating meiotic exchange. Recombination can also initiate at internal sites separated from the HRR by chromosome rearrangement, such as deletions of the unc-54 region of chromosome I. When crossing over was suppressed in a region of chromosome I, compensatory increases were observed in other regions. Thus, the presence of the HRR enabled recombination to occur but did not determine the distribution of the crossover events. It seems most likely that there are multiple initiation sites for recombination once homolog recognition has been achieved.

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Selected References

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