Orientation of the ‘stretched’ univalent X chromosome during the unequal first meiotic division in male aphids

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In situ hybridization was used to label the ends of the X chromosomes of two aphid species, Myzus persicae and Amphorophora tuberculata, in order to study the peculiar behaviour and orientation of the univalent X in aphid spermatogenesis. Anaphase I begins with the long axis of the X chromosome at right angles to the spindle and its two chromatids closely associated, but as the division proceeds the chromatids separate along most of their lengths, retaining only a midway connection as the X chromosome becomes stretched on the spindle. Both ends of one chromatid move towards one pole, while both ends of the other chromatid move towards the other pole. However, the midway connection is retained and the whole X chromosome eventually passes into one daughter cell. This form of X chromosome behaviour is common to all aphids and therefore presumably dates back to the Permian. It is independent of the type of meiosis, which in aphids can be ‘normal’ (reductional first division) or ‘inverted’ (reductional second division).

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