Chromosoma Focus


, Volume 102, Issue 2, pp 71-80

First online:

Sex chromosomes, recombination, and chromatin conformation

  • Bruce D. McKeeAffiliated withDepartment of Zoology, University of Tennessee
  • , Mary Ann HandelAffiliated withDepartment of Zoology, University of Tennessee

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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.