, Volume 29, Issue 11, pp 1157-1158
Date: 22 Nov 2012

Chromo Me Thriptic-chaos amongst the chromosomes!

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Those neat little packages of our nuclear genomes, parsed as 23 pairs one each from mom and dad, are creating much excitement and bemusement these days. Afterall, where would we be were it not for the mitosis or meiosis arresting actions of colchemid to splay and spread the chromosomes onto a two-dimensional substrate for deconstruction under the watchful eye of cytogeneticists then and now? Add a bit of coloration to reveal banding patterns and voila-the reconstructed map known as the karyotype displays our genomes front and center! 22 autosomes arranged in rank order according to size and the two sex chromosomes that follow comprise our most basic abstraction of who we are- genetically speaking. What happens to our chromosomes when cells are not dividing has been a long-standing question of how to keep track of the apportionment of 3 trillion base pairs when it comes time to sort these mischievous bearers of our genetic character during the M phase of meiotic or mitotic cell cycles.

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Human chromosomes are capable of rearranging themselves through a process known as chromothripsis, changing the way we view and monitor genetic variability in the somatic and germ cell lineages.