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Int J Parasitol. 2005 Nov;35(13):1445-51. Epub 2005 Aug 30.

Synaptonemal complex karyotype of Eimeria tenella.

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Department of Animal Pathology, Faculty of Veterinary Sciences, University of Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain.


In most organisms, biological variability rests on the behaviour of the chromosomes in the meiotic context. Despite the importance of meiosis, very little is known about the meiotic behaviour of the Eimeria chromosomes. The aim of the present study is to describe the standard synaptonemal complex karyotype from Eimeria tenella oocyst spreads by electron microscopy. For that purpose, complete sets of pachytene synaptonemal complexes were obtained and the morphological pachytene karyotype was determined. The authors used a previously reported method that overcomes the difficulty of the extreme resistance of protozoan oocysts to disruption and permits the release of intact meiotic chromosomes. The chromosomes were selected under a light microscope and those selected were stained with phosphotungtic acid and studied by transmission electron microscopy. The authors confirmed 14 chromosomes, which were observed as synaptonemal complexes, and the karyotype was constructed by arranging synaptonemal complexes according to their relative lengths and kinetochore position. Components of the synaptonemal complex, lateral elements, central element, recombination nodules and kinetochore were observed. Measures of the kynetochore, width of the synaptonemal complex, diameter of the recombination nodule and length of the telomeres are given. Minimal and no significant differences were found between measures of chromosomes isolated from different Eimeria tenella strains. To the best of our knowledge, the present investigation for the first time identifies and describes the morphological characteristics of the synaptonemal complex of Eimeria tenella during the meiosis that occurs within the oocysts. In addition, the authors provide evidence of the presence of recombination nodules, suggesting that the recombination process may play an important role in the molecular evolution of this parasite.

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