Synaptonemal complex karyotyping in spermatocytes of the Chinese hamster (Cricetulus griseus). III. Quantitative evaluation

Chromosoma. 1977 Apr 20;60(4):345-75. doi: 10.1007/BF00292859.


Relative length is a constant and distinctive characteristic for each autosomal SC, despite variations in absolute length from cell to cell. Arm ratio is distinctive for each SC except for two of the three sub-acrocentrics, and serves, together with relative length, for identification. The constancy of relative length and arm ratios indicates biological stability and lack of physical distortion in these spread preparations. There is a 1:1 relationship between relative lengths of autosomal SCs and mitotic autosomes: their arm ratios are similar. These close parallels provide strikingly similar SC and somatic karyotypes. Variability was observed in sub-acrocentric arm ratios and in lengths of unpaired X and Y axes, correlated with the presence of constitutive heterochromatin. - Utilizing progressive differentiations of the X and Y chromosomes for staging, it is demonstrated that autosomal SCs decrease in length from late zygotene to mid-pachytene, and then increase at late pachytene. Within a nucleus, synchrony of length changes is maintained. It is concluded that the factors governing autosomal SC length are regular for any given bivalent from cell to cell and may be related to those that control somatic autosome length relationships. - The X and Y axes differ quantitatively as well as qualitatively from autosomal SCs. The SC portion of the X and Y is constant in length through most of pachytene; the unpaired axes shorten and lengthen, but not in proportion to autosomal SCs. X and Y relative lengths ard arm ratios vary throughout pachytene and do not maintain proportionality with somatic values. The evidence suggests, but does not prove, that the long arm of the X is paired with the short arm of the Y.-Twists occur in autosomal SCs at increasing frequencies throughout pachytene but cannot account for length changes. The number of twists per SC is directly proportional to SC length. Intertwining of SCs is random and proportional to SC length. End-to-end associations of autosomal SCs appear to be random; however, the ends of the X and Y are less often involved in such connections. - The length of axial material in all chromosomes at pachytene, expressed as an equivalent length of DNA double helix, represents 0.013% of the diploid DNA complement.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cricetinae / anatomy & histology*
  • DNA
  • Heterochromatin
  • Karyotyping
  • Male
  • Mitosis
  • Sex Chromosomes
  • Spermatocytes / cytology*
  • Spermatozoa / cytology*


  • Heterochromatin
  • DNA