, Volume 87, Issue 2, pp 197–228 | Cite as

Intercalary heterochromatin in Drosophila

I. Localization and general characteristics
  • I. F. Zhimulev
  • V. F. Semeshin
  • V. A. Kulichkov
  • E. S. Belyaeva


Sites of intercalary heterochromatin (IH) in the complete set of Drosophila melanogaster polytene chromosomes were localized and studied according to the following criteria: tendency to break (weak points), ectopic pairing and late replication, the existence of repeats (in X and 2R) including those enriched with A-T bases. Correlation between these features investigated, the highest correlation coefficients found between weak point behavior, late replication, and ectopic pairing. The frequency of breaks in weak points in some IH bands was shown to be different in different tissues, strains and closely related Drosophila species. Sexual differences in morphology and manifestation of IH features were found in bands of the X chromosome: weak point behavior and participation in ectopic pairing of IH bands are an order of magnitude less frequent in male X chromosomes than in female X chromosomes. In autosomes such differences have not been observed. IH bands in male X chromosomes look more massive than the homologous ones in female X chromosomes: the DNA content of the 11A6-9 region is four times less in females than in males. The hypothesis is proposed that the specific features of intercalary heterochromatin bands are determined by tandem repetitiveness and late replication. The latter, if it occurs in a cluster of repetitions, could cause incomplete polytenization of the region and, as a consequence, breaks (or weak points) and the appearance of “adhesive ends” which may take part either in realization of ectopic contacts or in fixation of those occurring previously. Breaks caused by chromosome aberrations in regions with repeats may not result in a sharp decline of viability, so that break points of chromosome rearrangements in intercalary heterochromatin may be more frequent than in other regions.


Sexual Difference Developmental Biology Chromosome Rearrangement Break Point Chromosome Aberration 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • I. F. Zhimulev
    • 1
  • V. F. Semeshin
    • 1
  • V. A. Kulichkov
    • 1
  • E. S. Belyaeva
    • 1
  1. 1.Siberian Division of USSR Academy of SciencesInstitute of Cytology and GeneticsNovosibirskUSSR

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