Meiosis in trisomic female mice with Robertsonian translocations. I. Prophase pairing

Cytogenet Cell Genet. 1989;52(3-4):111-7. doi: 10.1159/000132858.


The prophase oocytes of two murine Robertsonian translocation (Rb) trisomies of chromosomes 16 and 19 were investigated using electron microscopy and a whole-cell micro-spreading technique after silver staining. About 20% of fetuses of each type were trisomic. They were obtained by mating animals heterozygous for two Rb's, monobrachially homologous for either chromosome 16 or 19, to an entirely acrocentric stock. Because of the almost inevitable prenatal mortality of the trisomic embryos, their fetal ovaries were "rescued" by an in vitro method for prophase studies. Analysis of the recovered oocytes showed frequent, close pairing associations of the three trisomic axes and evidence suggesting that the closely apposed axes coincided with the side-by-side formation of parallel, complete, true synaptonemal complexes; hence, the cytogenetic dogma that pairing is always two-by-two was contradicted. The presence of two parallel complexes has implications for crossing-over recombination. Triple associations of axes were found in almost half the trisomy 19 (Ts19) and in about 70% of the trisomy 16 (Ts16) prophases. The extent of triple associations varied and was greater in Ts16 than in Ts19 oocytes. Other relevant observations concerned the proportions of univalents and of univalence of the trisomic axes (21% in Ts16 and 46% in Ts19) and the distinctive, thickened appearance of all univalent axes. The pairing behaviour observed in balanced heterozygotes confirms what appears to be nonhomologous pairing and synaptic adjustment within the short-arm axes of the Rb trivalents.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromosome Aberrations / genetics
  • Chromosomes / physiology*
  • Chromosomes / ultrastructure
  • Female
  • Meiosis / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Oocytes / ultrastructure
  • Prophase / physiology
  • Synaptonemal Complex / physiology
  • Translocation, Genetic / genetics
  • Translocation, Genetic / physiology*
  • Trisomy*