Faculty Research 1990 - 1999


Recombination suppression by heterozygous Robertsonian chromosomes in the mouse.

Document Type


Publication Date



Centromere: ul, Female, Heterozygote, Linkage-(Genetics), Male, Meiosis: ge, Mice, Mice-Inbred-C57BL, Mice-Inbred-DBA, Microscopy-Electron, Models-Genetic, Recombination-Genetic, SUPPORT-U-S-GOVT-P-H-S, Suppression-Genetic, Synaptonemal-Complex: ge, Translocation-(Genetics)

JAX Source

Genetics 1993 Mar;133(3):649-67




Robertsonian chromosomes are metacentric chromosomes formed by the joining of two telocentric chromosomes at their centromere ends. Many Robertsonian chromosomes of the mouse suppress genetic recombination near the centromere when heterozygous. We have analyzed genetic recombination and meiotic pairing in mice heterozygous for Robertsonian chromosomes and genetic markers to determine (1) the reason for this recombination suppression and (2) whether there are any consistent rules to predict which Robertsonian chromosomes will suppress recombination. Meiotic pairing was analyzed using synaptonemal complex preparations. Our data provide evidence that the underlying mechanism of recombination suppression is mechanical interference in meiotic pairing between Robertsonian chromosomes and their telocentric partners. The fact that recombination suppression is specific to individual Robertsonian chromosomes suggests that the pairing delay is caused by minor structural differences between the Robertsonian chromosomes and their telocentric homologs and that these differences arise during Robertsonian formation. Further understanding of this pairing delay is important for mouse mapping studies. In 10 mouse chromosomes (3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 15 and 19) the distances from the centromeres to first markers may still be underestimated because they have been determined using only Robertsonian chromosomes. Our control linkage studies using C-band (heterochromatin) markers for the centromeric region provide improved estimates for the centromere-to-first-locus distance in mouse chromosomes 1, 2 and 16.