Meiosis in Mammals

  • C. E. Ford


The unique features of meiosis are the specific attraction of homologous chromosomes for one another that leads to side-by-side pairing (syn-apsis) and the subsequent regular occurrence of recombination between them. It has been appreciated for over thirty years that attraction is specific down to small chromosome segments, that it operates over great distances (when considered on the molecular scale) and that it is saturated by a single partner strand (so that, at zygotene in triploids, for example, two of the three strands of a trivalent group are associated at any one point and the third strand is free; Darlington, 1937). Neither attraction nor recombination are understood in molecular terms. Other distinctive but consequential features of meiosis are the exchanges of partner chromatids (chiasmata) seen in stages from diplotene to first meta-phase, and the typical occurrence of two successive “divisions” that normally ensure the segregation of the four chromatids of a single bivalent each into a separate telophase nucleus.


Reciprocal Translocation Chiasma Frequency Pachytene Chromosome Chiasma Formation Nucleolar Chromosome 
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© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1969

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. E. Ford
    • 1
  1. 1.M.R.C. Radiobiological Research UnitHarwell, Didcot, BerkshireEngland

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