Centromere-proximal suppression of meiotic crossovers in Drosophila is robust to changes in centromere number, repetitive DNA content, and centromere-clustering

Genetics. 2024 Mar 6;226(3):iyad216. doi: 10.1093/genetics/iyad216.


Accurate segregation of homologous chromosomes during meiosis depends on both the presence and the regulated placement of crossovers (COs). The centromere effect, or CO exclusion in pericentromeric regions of the chromosome, is a meiotic CO patterning phenomenon that helps prevent nondisjunction, thereby protecting against chromosomal disorders and other meiotic defects. Despite being identified nearly a century ago, the mechanisms behind this fundamental cellular process remain unknown, with most studies of the Drosophila centromere effect focusing on local influences of the centromere and pericentric heterochromatin. In this study, we sought to investigate whether dosage changes in centromere number and repetitive DNA content affect the strength of the centromere effect, using phenotypic recombination mapping. Additionally, we studied the effects of repetitive DNA function on centromere effect strength using satellite DNA-binding protein mutants displaying defective centromere-clustering in meiotic nuclei. Despite what previous studies suggest, our results show that the Drosophila centromere effect is robust to changes in centromere number, repetitive DNA content, as well as repetitive DNA function. Our study suggests that the centromere effect is unlikely to be spatially controlled, providing novel insight into the mechanisms behind the Drosophila centromere effect.

Keywords: centromere; crossover; heterochromatin; meiosis; satellite DNA.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Centromere / genetics
  • Centromere / metabolism
  • Chromosome Segregation
  • DNA
  • Drosophila Proteins* / genetics
  • Drosophila Proteins* / metabolism
  • Drosophila* / genetics
  • Drosophila* / metabolism
  • Meiosis / genetics


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • DNA