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Cytogenet Cell Genet. 2001;93(3-4):175-81.

Alteration of chromosome numbers by generation of minichromosomes -- is there a lower limit of chromosome size for stable segregation?

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Institut für Pflanzengenetik und Kulturpflanzenforschung, Gatersleben, Germany.


Practical applications of minichromosomes, generated by de novo composition or by truncation of natural chromosomes, rely on stable transmission of these chromosomes. Functional centromeres, telomeres and replication origins are recognized as prerequisites for minichromosome stability. However, it is not yet clear whether, and if yes, to what degree the chromatin content has a qualitative or quantitative impact on stable chromosome transmission. A small translocation chromosome, which arose after X-irradiation of a reconstructed field bean karyotype, comprised approximately 5% of the haploid metaphase complement and was found to consist of three pieces of duplicated chromatin and a wild-type centromere. This chromosome was stably transmitted through all meristematic and pollen grain mitoses but was frequently lost during meiosis (66% loss in hemizygous and 33% in homozygous condition). This minichromosome was only a little smaller than stably segregating translocation chromosomes (comprising approximately 6% of the genome) of a euploid field bean karyotype. The duplications specific for this minichromosome did not influence meiotic segregation when associated with non-duplicated chromatin of other chromosomes. In comparison with minichromosomes of other species, the possibility of a lower size limit for a stable chromosome transmission must therefore be considered which might be based, for instance, on insufficient lateral support of centromeres or on insufficient bivalent stability due to the incapability of chiasma formation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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