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Heredity (Edinb). 2004 Nov;93(5):460-7.

Differential chromosome pairing affinities at meiosis in polyploid sugarcane revealed by molecular markers.

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  • 1CIRAD, UMR 1096, TA 40/03, Avenue Agropolis, 34398 Montpellier Cedex 5, France.


Chromosome pairing at meiosis is an essential feature in cell biology, which determines trait inheritance and species evolution. Complex polyploids may display diverse pairing affinities and offer favorable situations for studying meiosis. The genus Saccharum encompasses diverse forms of polyploids with predominantly bivalent pairing. We have focused on a modern cultivar of sugarcane, R570, and taken advantage of a particular single copy probe (BNL 12.06) revealing 11 alleles by restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP). As for other cultivars, R570 is highly polyploid (2n=ca. 115) and indirectly derived from interspecific hybridization between Saccharum officinarum (2n=80, x=10) and S. spontaneum (2n=40-128, x=8). Here we determined the doses of the various BNL12.06 RFLP alleles among 282 progeny of R570 and estimated the mutual pairing frequencies among the corresponding homo- or homoeologous chromosomes using a maximum likelihood method. The result is an atypical picture, with pairing frequencies ranging from 0 to 40% and differential affinities leading to the identification of several chromosome subsets. This example illustrates the unsystematic meiotic behavior in a complex polyploid. It highlights a continuous range of pairing affinities between chromosomes and pinpoints a strong role of individual chromosome features, partly related to their ancestral origin, in the determination of these affinities.

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