Unequal crossing over and heterochromatin exchange in the X-Y bivalents of the deer mouse, Peromyscus beatae. Academic Article uri icon


  • Differences in length of the heterochromatic short arms of the X and Y chromosomes in individuals of Peromyscus beatae are hypothesized to result from unequal crossing over. To test this hypothesis, we examined patterns of synapsis, chiasma formation, and segregation for male P. beatae which were either heterozygous or homozygous for the amount of short-arm sex heterochromatin. Synaptonemal complex analysis demonstrated that mitotic differences in heterochromatic short-arm lengths between the X and Y chromosomes were reflected in early pachynema as corresponding differences in axial element lengths within the pairing region of the sex bivalent. These length differences were subsequently eliminated by synaptic adjustment such that by late pachynema, the synaptonemal complex configurations of the XY bivalent of heterozygotes were not differentiable from those of homozygotes. Crossing over between the heterochromatic short arms of the XY bivalent was documented by the routine appearance of a single chiasma in this region during diakinesis/metaphase I. Sex heterochromatin heterozygotes were characterized by the presence of asymmetrical chiasma between the X and Y short arms at diakinesis/metaphase I and sex chromosomes with unequal chromatid lengths at metaphase II. These data corroborate our hypothesis on the role of unequal crossing over in the production and propagation of X and Y heterochromatin variation and suggest that, in some cases, crossing over can occur during the process of synaptic adjustment.

published proceedings

  • Chromosoma

author list (cited authors)

  • Sudman, P. D., & Greenbaum, I. F.

citation count

  • 13

complete list of authors

  • Sudman, PD||Greenbaum, IF

publication date

  • July 1990