The centric region of the X chromosome rDNA functions in male meiotic pairing in Drosophila melanogaster

Chromosoma. 1995 Jul;103(10):700-7. doi: 10.1007/BF00344231.


In Drosophila melanogaster males, sex chromosome pairing at meiosis is ensured by so-called pairing site(s) located discretely in the centric heterochromatin. The property of the pairing sites is not well understood. Recently, an hypothesis has been proposed that 240 bp repeats in the nontranscribed spacer region of rDNA function as the pairing sites in male meiosis. However, considerable cytogenetic evidence exists that is contrary to this hypothesis. Hence, the question is whether the chromosomal rDNA clusters, in which a high copy number of 240 bp repeats exists, are involved in the pairing. In order to resolve the problem we X-rayed Drosophila carrying the X chromosome inversion In(1)scV2L sc8R and generated free, mini-X chromosomes carrying a substantial amount of rDNA. We defined cytogenetically the size of the mini-chromosomes and studied their meiotic behavior. Our results demonstrate that the heterochromatin at the distal end of the inversion, whose length is approximately 0.4 times that of the fourth chromosome, includes a meiotic pairing site in the male. We discuss the cytological location of the pairing site and the possible role of rDNA in meiotic pairing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • DNA, Ribosomal / physiology*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Female
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Male
  • Meiosis / physiology*
  • Nucleolus Organizer Region
  • X Chromosome*


  • DNA, Ribosomal