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Cytogenet Genome Res. 2004;105(2-4):172-81.

The initiation of homologous chromosome synapsis in mouse fetal oocytes is not directly driven by centromere and telomere clustering in the bouquet.

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Department of Biological Sciences, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK.


We investigated the behaviour of centromeres and distal telomeres during the initial phases of female meiosis in mice. In particular, we wished to determine whether clustering of centromeres and telomeres (bouquet formation) played the same crucial role in homologous chromosome pairing in female meiosis as it does in the male. We found that synapsis (intimate homologous chromosome pairing) is most frequently initiated in the interstitial regions of homologous chromosomes, apparently ahead of the distal regions. The proximal ends of the chromosomes appear to be disfavoured for synaptic initiation. Moreover, initiation of synapsis occurred in oocytes that showed little or no evidence of bouquet formation. A bouquet was present in a substantial proportion of cells at mid to late zygotene, and was still present in some pachytene oocytes. This pattern of bouquet formation and pairing initiation is in stark contrast to that previously described in the male mouse. We propose that although dynamic movements of centromeres and telomeres to form clusters may facilitate alignment of homologues or homologous chromosome segments during zygotene, in the female mouse positional control of synaptic initiation is dependent on some other mechanism.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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