, Volume 55, Issue 2, pp 183–208 | Cite as

Transcription of genetic information in amphibian oocytes

  • John Sommerville
  • David B. Malcolm


The lampbrush chromosomes of amphibian oocytes are highly active in RNA transcription. The extent of transcription and features of the transcriptional product have been studied both cytologically and by molecular hybridization. Each lampbrush loop is considered to be a unit of transcription which generates many primary transcript molecules. InTriturus the primary transcripts can be recovered as nuclear RNP particles which can be dispersed in the presence of formamide to give linear forms of up to 20 μm or more in length. Only part of the RNA extracted from nuclear RNP codes for protein, the remainder containing non-informational repetitive sequences. Although about 4% of the chromosomal DNA ofTriturus is transcribed during oogenesis, only 0.05–0.1% of the DNA is expressed as coding sequences. This informational sequence complexity is equivalent to approximately 104 different mRNA species. A model for the organization of genetic sequences in the lampbrush chromosomes is suggested.


Developmental Biology Formamide Genetic Information Linear Form Repetitive Sequence 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Sommerville
    • 1
  • David B. Malcolm
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyThe UniversitySt. Andrews, FifeScotland

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