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B Chromosome Nondisjunction in Corn: Control by Factors near the Centromere

The Genetics Society of America
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  • Investigations


B chromosomes of corn are stable at all mitotic and meiotic divisions of the plant except the second pollen mitosis. In the latter division, B chromosomes undego mitotic nondisjunction at rates as high as 98%. Studies by several workers on B-A translocation chromosomes have provided evidence for the existence of four factors on the B chromosome that control nondisjunction and are separable from the centromere. Two of these factors, referred to here as factors 3 and 4, flank the B chromosome centromere. Factor 3 is the centromere-adjacent heterochromatin in the long arm of the B chromosome; factor 4 is located in the minute short arm. Evidence is presented here supporting the existence of factors 3 and 4. Deficiencies that include each factor were identified following centromeric misdivision events, with breaks at or near the centromere of a B-translocation chromosome. B chromosomes lacking factors 3 or 4 show much less nondisjunction than do chromosomes containing them. The possible function of factor 4 in nondisjuntion is also discussed.

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