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Cell. 1990 Apr 6;61(1):61-72.

Drosophila ribosomal RNA genes function as an X-Y pairing site during male meiosis.

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Department of Biology, University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire 54701.


In Drosophila melanogaster males, the sex chromosomes pair during meiosis in the centric X heterochromatin and at the base of the short arm of the Y (YS), in the vicinity of the nucleolus organizers. X chromosomes deficient for the pairing region segregate randomly from the Y. In this report we show that a single ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene stimulates X-Y pairing and disjunction when inserted onto a heterochromatically deficient X chromosome by P element-mediated transformation. We also show that insert-containing X chromosomes pair at the site of insertion, that autosomal rDNA inserts do not affect X-Y pairing or disjunction, and that the strength of an X pairing site is proportional to the dose of ectopic rRNA genes. These results demonstrate that rRNA genes can promote X-Y pairing and disjunction and imply that the nucleolus organizers function as X-Y pairing sites in wild-type Drosophila males.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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