Letter | Published:

Centromeric asymmetry and induction of translocations and sister chromatid exchanges in mouse chromosomes

Naturevolume 254pages354356 (1975) | Download Citation


  • An Erratum to this article was published on 26 June 1975


THE mechanisms involved in chromosome rejoining are not understood. We showed that chromosome rejoining in Robertsonian centric fusion can be studied cytologically1 with a staining technique based on the quenching by 5-bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) of the fluorescence of the dye 33258 Hoechst2. When mouse cells were grown for one generation in the presence of BrdU and stained with 33258 Hoechst, there was a brightly fluorescent spot appearing over half of the centromeric region in every autosome3. (This asymmetry presumably reflects the unequal distribution of thymidine (45% compared with 22%) between the two chains of mouse satellite DNA4, the fluorescent spot representing the old thymidine-rich chain of satellite DNA.) The arrangement of fluorescent spots in metacentric chromosomes resulting from Robertsonian fusion suggested that the thymidine-rich chain of satellite DNA in the centromeric region is associated with the same DNA chain (in terms of polarity) in every mouse autosome1. We have used the centromeric asymmetry in mouse chromosomes as a marker for DNA polarity in studies on radiation and drug-induced chromosomal translocation and sister chromatid exchange (SCE).

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Reprint requests to: Dr. Richard L. Davidson, Children's Hospital Medical Center, 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115.


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  1. Division of Human Genetics, Children's Hospital Medical Center and Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, 02115

    • M. S. LIN
    •  & R. L. DAVIDSON


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