Time to match; when do homologous chromosomes become closer?

M. Solé, J. Blanco, D. Gil, O. Valero, B. Cárdenas, G. Fonseka, E. Anton, empty Pascual, R. Frodsham, F. Vidal, Z. Sarrate*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


In most eukaryotes, pairing of homologous chromosomes is an essential feature of meiosis that ensures homologous recombination and segregation. However, when the pairing process begins, it is still under investigation. Contrasting data exists in Mus musculus, since both leptotene DSB-dependent and preleptotene DSB-independent mechanisms have been described. To unravel this contention, we examined homologous pairing in pre-meiotic and meiotic Mus musculus cells using a three-dimensional fluorescence in situ hybridization-based protocol, which enables the analysis of the entire karyotype using DNA painting probes. Our data establishes in an unambiguously manner that 73.83% of homologous chromosomes are already paired at premeiotic stages (spermatogonia-early preleptotene spermatocytes). The percentage of paired homologous chromosomes increases to 84.60% at mid-preleptotene-zygotene stage, reaching 100% at pachytene stage. Importantly, our results demonstrate a high percentage of homologous pairing observed before the onset of meiosis; this pairing does not occur randomly, as the percentage was higher than that observed in somatic cells (19.47%) and between nonhomologous chromosomes (41.1%). Finally, we have also observed that premeiotic homologous pairing is asynchronous and independent of the chromosome size, GC content, or presence of NOR regions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-205
Number of pages13
JournalChromosoma (Berlin. Print)
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • Chromosome territories
  • FISH
  • Homologous chromosomes
  • Homologous pairing
  • Meiosis
  • Premeiotic cells


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