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PLoS Genet. 2005 Nov;1(5):e67. Epub 2005 Nov 18.

All paired up with no place to go: pairing, synapsis, and DSB formation in a balancer heterozygote.

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Stowers Institute for Medical Research, Kansas City, Missouri, United States of America.


The multiply inverted X chromosome balancer FM7 strongly suppresses, or eliminates, the occurrence of crossing over when heterozygous with a normal sequence homolog. We have utilized the LacI-GFP: lacO system to visualize the effects of FM7 on meiotic pairing, synapsis, and double-strand break formation in Drosophila oocytes. Surprisingly, the analysis of meiotic pairing and synapsis for three lacO reporter couplets in FM7/X heterozygotes revealed they are paired and synapsed during zygotene/pachytene in 70%-80% of oocytes. Moreover, the regions defined by these lacO couplets undergo double-strand break formation at normal frequency. Thus, even complex aberration heterozygotes usually allow high frequencies of meiotic pairing, synapsis, and double-strand break formation in Drosophila oocytes. However, the frequencies of failed pairing and synapsis were still 1.5- to 2-fold higher than were observed for corresponding regions in oocytes with two normal sequence X chromosomes, and this effect was greatest near a breakpoint. We propose that heterozygosity for breakpoints creates a local alteration in synaptonemal complex structure that is propagated across long regions of the bivalent in a fashion analogous to chiasma interference, which also acts to suppress crossing over.

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