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Vertebrate reproductive science and technology
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Platypus chain reaction: directional and ordered meiotic pairing of the multiple sex chromosome chain in Ornithorhynchus anatinus

Tasman Daish A , Aaron Casey A and Frank Grützner A B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Discipline of Genetics, School of Molecular and Biomedical Science, The University of Adelaide, North Terrace, Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia.

B Corresponding author. Email: frank.grutzner@adelaide.edu.au

Reproduction, Fertility and Development 21(8) 976-984 https://doi.org/10.1071/RD09085
Submitted: 6 April 2009  Accepted: 25 June 2009   Published: 30 October 2009

Abstract

Monotremes are phylogenetically and phenotypically unique animals with an unusually complex sex chromosome system that is composed of ten chromosomes in platypus and nine in echidna. These chromosomes are alternately linked (X1Y1, X2Y2, ...) at meiosis via pseudoautosomal regions and segregate to form spermatozoa containing either X or Y chromosomes. The physical and epigenetic mechanisms involved in pairing and assembly of the complex sex chromosome chain in early meiotic prophase I are completely unknown. We have analysed the pairing dynamics of specific sex chromosome pseudoautosomal regions in platypus spermatocytes during prophase of meiosis I. Our data show a highly coordinated pairing process that begins at the terminal Y5 chromosome and completes with the union of sex chromosomes X1Y1. The consistency of this ordered assembly of the chain is remarkable and raises questions about the mechanisms and factors that regulate the differential pairing of sex chromosomes and how this relates to potential meiotic silencing mechanisms and alternate segregation.

Additional keywords: chromosome pairing, meiosis, pseudoautosomal regions, telomeres.


Acknowledgements

This work was funded by the Australian Research Council (DP0664267). F.G. is an ARC Australian Research Fellow. A.C. is supported by an Australian Postgraduate Award.


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