Pairing and anti-pairing: a balancing act in the diploid genome

Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2016 Apr;37:119-128. doi: 10.1016/j.gde.2016.03.002. Epub 2016 Apr 9.


The presence of maternal and paternal homologs appears to be much more than just a doubling of genetic material. We know this because genomes have evolved elaborate mechanisms that permit homologous regions to sense and then respond to each other. One way in which homologs communicate is to come into contact and, in fact, Dipteran insects such as Drosophila excel at this task, aligning all pairs of maternal and paternal chromosomes, end-to-end, in essentially all somatic tissues throughout development. Here, we reexamine the widely held tenet that extensive somatic pairing of homologous sequences cannot occur in mammals and suggest, instead, that pairing may be a widespread and significant potential that has gone unnoticed in mammals because they expend considerable effort to prevent it. We then extend this discussion to interchromosomal interactions, in general, and speculate about the potential of nuclear organization and pairing to impact inheritance.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Nucleus / genetics
  • Chromosome Pairing / genetics*
  • Diploidy
  • Drosophila / genetics*
  • Genome
  • Mammals / genetics
  • Meiosis / genetics*