Theoretical and Applied Genetics

, Volume 43, Issue 3–4, pp 174–181 | Cite as

Somatic association of telocentric chromosomes carrying homologous centromeres in common wheat

  • T. Mello-Sampayo


Measurements of distances between telocentric chromosomes, either homologous or representing the opposite arms of a metacentric chromosome (complementary telocentrics), were made at metaphase in root tip cells of common wheat carrying two homologous pairs of complementary telocentrics of chromosome 1 B or 6 B (double ditelosomic 1 B or 6 B). The aim was to elucidate the relative locations of the telocentric chromosomes within the cell. The data obtained strongly suggest that all four telocentrics of chromosome 1 B or 6 B are spacially and simultaneously co-associated. In plants carrying two complementary (6 BS and 6 BL) and a non-related (5 BL) telocentric, only the complementary chromosomes were found to be somatically associated. It is thought, therefore, that the somatic association of chromosomes may involve more than two chromosomes in the same association and, since complementary telocentrics are as much associated as homologous, that the homology between centromeres (probably the only homologous region that exists between complementary telocentrics) is a very important condition for somatic association of chromosomes. The spacial arrangement of chromosomes was studied at anaphase and prophase and the polar orientation of chromosomes at prophase was found to resemble anaphase orientation. This was taken as good evidence for the maintenance of the chromosome arrangement — the Rabl orientation — and of the peripheral location of the centromere and its association with the nuclear membrane. Within this general arrangement homologous telocentric chromosomes were frequently seen to have their centromeres associated or directed towards each other. The role of the centromere in somatic association as a spindle fibre attachment and chromosome binder is discussed. It is suggested that for non-homologous chromosomes to become associated in root tips, the only requirement needed should be the homology of centromeres such as exists between complementary telocentrics, or, as a possible alternative, common repeated sequences of DNA molecules around the centromere region.


Common Wheat Complementary Chromosome Polar Orientation Homologous Pair Metacentric Chromosome 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. Mello-Sampayo
    • 1
  1. 1.Centro de BiologiaInstituto Gulbenkian de CiênciaOeirasPortugal

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