Chromosome Research

, Volume 20, Issue 8, pp 911-924

First online:

Chromomeres revisited

  • Herbert C. MacgregorAffiliated withSchool of Biosciences, University of Exeter Email author 


The history of studies on the chromomeres of lampbrush chromosomes is outlined and evidence for the nature and function of these structures is collected and summarised. Chromomeres and their associated loops on lampbrush chromosomes are not genetic units although in some special cases, they consist of specific families of repeated DNA sequences. The emergence of a chromomeric organisation coincides with the onset and intensification of transcription on lampbrush loops. Modern molecular studies have provided evidence that the chromatin of lampbrush chromomeres differs in several important respects from that of condensed metaphase chromosomes. It is in a highly dynamic state that facilitates localised transcription whilst keeping the chromosome safe from structural changes that might impede its orderly progression up to and through meiotic metaphase 1. Lampbrush chromosomes (LBCs) are a physically induced phenomenon, facilitated by the selective absence of molecular factors that would interfere with their main transcriptional role. LBC morphology is highly dynamic and driven by transcriptive activity.


lampbrush chromosome chromomeres chromatin transcription