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The spatial localization of homologous chromosomes in human fibroblasts at mitosis


Chromosomes from ten human male fibroblast metaphases were completely reconstructed from electron micrographs of serially sectioned material. Chromosome centromere positions were determined by finding the three-dimensional coordinates of the centromere midpoint. The data set showed the identity of nine chromosome types (chromosomes 1, 2, 3, 6, 9, 16, 17, 18 and the Y chromosome) preserved as they are positioned in vivo. The results indicate that there is (1) no significant association of the homologous chromosomes examined, (2) a significant tendency for a central location of the Y chromosome and of chromosome 18, (3) a significant tendency for a peripheral location of chromosome 6, (4) no significant tendency for homologous chromosomes to reorganize as metaphase advances and (5) no significant differential condensation across the metaphase plate. Therefore, the only organization pattern observed for the centromeres of the homologous chromosomes studied is some sorting by size across the metaphase plate. These results may be typical of dividing cell types. Different chromosome arrangements are found in some non-dividing cell types (e.g. mammalian brain cells). The different distributions of chromosomes in different cell types can be considered as forms of “nuclear differentiation”. It is postulated that nuclear differentiation may be related to cell differentiation.

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Leitch, A.R., Brown, J.K.M., Mosgöller, W. et al. The spatial localization of homologous chromosomes in human fibroblasts at mitosis. Hum Genet 93, 275–280 (1994).

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  • Human Fibroblast
  • Central Location
  • Brain Cell
  • Homologous Chromosome
  • Mammalian Brain