Electron microscopy of meiosis in Drosophila melanogaster females. I. Structure, arrangement, and temporal change of the synaptonemal complex in wild-type

Chromosoma. 1975;51(2):157-82. doi: 10.1007/BF00319833.


Complete reconstruction of the synaptonemal complex in 12 pachytene (defined here as that stage in which the synaptonemal complex is continuous throughout the bivalents) nuclei from one wild-type germarium has permitted the following observations. 1) Drosophila melanogaster bivalents at pachytene exhibit a chromocentral arrangement; the pericentric heterochromatin of all bivalents lies in one region of the nucleus, the chromocenter. Telomeric ends do not appear to abutt the nuclear envelope. 2) Synaptonemal complex is present in the pericentric heterochromatin; however, it is morphologically distinct from that present in the euchromatic portion of thesynaptonemal complex of the bivalent arms is greatest at early pachytene; the synaptonemal complex then becomes progressively shorter. Minimum length is approximately one-half of the maximum. 4) Decrease in length of synaptonemal complex is accompanied by an increase in thickness. Reconstruction of 20 pachytene nuclei from an additional 8 germaria suggests that these observations are typical. Correlations between these cytological observations and genetic observations (e.g., patterns of crossing-over) are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Nucleolus
  • Cell Nucleus
  • Chromosomes
  • Crossing Over, Genetic
  • Drosophila melanogaster / cytology*
  • Female
  • Haploidy
  • Heterochromatin
  • Meiosis*
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Organoids / ultrastructure*
  • Time Factors


  • Heterochromatin