Sex chromosomes, recombination, and chromatin conformation

Chromosoma. 1993 Jan;102(2):71-80. doi: 10.1007/BF00356023.


We review what is known about the transcriptional inactivation and condensation of heteromorphic sex chromosomes in contrast to the activation of homomorphic sex chromosomes during meiotic prephase in animals. We relate these cytological and transcriptional features to the recombination status of the sex chromosomes. We propose that sex chromosome condensation is a meiotic adaptation to prevent the initiation of potentially damaging recombination events in nonhomologous regions of the X and Y chromosome.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromatin / chemistry*
  • Dosage Compensation, Genetic
  • Female
  • Male
  • Meiosis*
  • Protein Conformation
  • Recombination, Genetic*
  • X Chromosome / chemistry
  • X Chromosome / physiology*
  • Y Chromosome / chemistry
  • Y Chromosome / physiology*


  • Chromatin