Identification of all pachytene bivalents in the common shrew using DAPI-staining of synaptonemal complex spreads

Chromosome Res. 2006;14(6):673-9. doi: 10.1007/s10577-006-1079-9. Epub 2006 Sep 14.


A major problem in studies of synaptonemal complexes (SC) is the difficulty in distinguishing individual chromosomes. This problem can be solved combining SC immunostaining with FISH of chromosome-specific sequences. However, this procedure is expensive, time-consuming and applicable only to a very limited number of species. In this paper we show how a combination of SC immunostaining and DAPI staining can allow identification of all chromosome arms in surface-spreads of the SC of the common shrew (Sorex araneus L.). Enhancement of brightness and contrast of the images with photo editing software allowed us to reveal clear DAPI-positive and negative bands with relative sizes and positions similar to DAPI landmarks on mitotic metaphase chromosomes. Using FISH with DNA probes prepared from chromosome arms m and n we demonstrated correct recognition of the chromosomes mp and hn on the basis of their DAPI pattern. We show that the approach we describe here may be applied to other species and can provide an important tool for identification of individual bivalents in pachytene surface-spreads.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique*
  • Fluorescent Dyes / chemistry*
  • Indoles / chemistry*
  • Male
  • Pachytene Stage*
  • Shrews / genetics*
  • Spermatocytes / cytology
  • Spermatocytes / metabolism
  • Synaptonemal Complex / chemistry*


  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Indoles
  • DAPI