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Dev Biol. 2009 Jan 1;325(1):122-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2008.10.003. Epub 2008 Oct 18.

Congression of achiasmate chromosomes to the metaphase plate in Drosophila melanogaster oocytes.

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Stowers Institute for Medical Research, Kansas City, MO 64110, USA.


Chiasmata established by recombination are normally sufficient to ensure accurate chromosome segregation during meiosis by physically interlocking homologs until anaphase I. Drosophila melanogaster female meiosis is unusual in that it is both exceptionally tolerant of nonexchange chromosomes and competent in ensuring their proper segregation. As first noted by Puro and Nokkala [Puro, J., Nokkala, S., 1977. Meiotic segregation of chromosomes in Drosophila melanogaster oocytes. A cytological approach. Chromosoma 63, 273-286], nonexchange chromosomes move precociously towards the poles following formation of a bipolar spindle. Indeed, metaphase arrest has been previously defined as the stage at which nonexchange homologs are symmetrically positioned between the main chromosome mass and the poles of the spindle. Here we use studies of both fixed images and living oocytes to show that the stage in which achiasmate chromosomes are separated from the main mass does not in fact define metaphase arrest, but rather is a component of an extended prometaphase. At the end of prometaphase, the nonexchange chromosomes retract into the main chromosome mass, which is tightly repackaged with properly co-oriented centromeres. This repackaged state is the true metaphase arrest configuration in Drosophila female meiosis.

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