In the mouse, as in many other species, the X and Y chromosomes are seen to pair end-to-end at diakinesis1, which has led to speculation as to whether chiasmata and crossing-over occur earlier in meiosis1. Arguments in favour of this have recently been presented2–4, but because of the absence of appropriate genetic and cytological markers little clear-cut evidence has been obtained. Studies with ‘sex-reversed’ (Sxr) mice5 carried out earlier this year6 have suggested that the transfer of chromatin from the Y to the X chromosome takes place during meiosis, but in this instance the interpretation was confused by the claim that X/Y Sxr mice possess two Y chromosomes, contrary to earlier reports7. We present evidence here that: (1) X/Y Sxr mice have a single abnormal Y chromosome possessing an additional dark-staining distal body; (2) during meiosis, this body is transferred by crossing-over from one chromatid of the Y to one chromatid of the X. Furthermore, closer inspection of XY bivalents in mice not carrying Sxr suggests that crossing-over is a normal feature of X–Y pairing, and may be a necessary requirement for the production of functional sperm. Details of the mode of inheritance of Sxr are given in Table 1.
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Evans, E., Burtenshaw, M. & Cattanach, B. Meitoic crossing-over between the X and Y chromosomes of male mice carrying the sex-reversing (Sxr) factor. Nature 300, 443–445 (1982). https://doi.org/10.1038/300443a0
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