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Zoller, J. F.; Herrmann, Reinhold G.; Wanner, Gerhard (2004): Chromosome condensation in mitosis and meiosis of rye (Secale cereale L.). In: Cytogenetic and Genome Research, No. 1: pp. 134-144


Structural investigation and morphometry of meiotic chromosomes by scanning electron microscopy (in comparison to light microscopy) of all stages of condensation of meiosis I + II show remarkable differences during chromosome condensation in mitosis and meiosis I of rye (Secale cereale) with respect to initiation, mode and degree of condensation. Mitotic chromosomes condense in a linear fashion, shorten in length and increase moderately in diameter. In contrast, in meiosis I, condensation of chromosomes in length and diameter is a sigmoidal process with a retardation in zygotene and pachytene and an acceleration from diplotene to diakinesis. The basic structural components of mitotic chromosomes of rye are ``parallel fibers{''} and ``chromomeres{''} which become highly compacted in metaphase. Although chromosome architecture in early prophase of meiosis seems similar to mitosis in principle, there is no equivalent stage during transition to metaphase I when chromosomes condense to a much higher degree and show a characteristic ``smooth{''} surface. No indication was found for helical winding of chromosomes either in mitosis or in meiosis. Based on measurements, we propose a mechanism for chromosome dynamics in mitosis and meiosis, which involves three individual processes: (i) aggregation of chromatin subdomains into a chromosome filament, (ii) condensation in length, which involves a progressive increase in diameter and (iii) separation of chromatids. Copyright (C) 2003 S. Karger AG, Basel.