Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Biological Sciences


Biological Sciences


Kenneth Hillers


Meiosis is a specialized type of cell division characterized by a single round of DNA replication and two rounds of chromosome segregation, ultimately resulting in four haploid cells. During meiosis I, chromosomes align and reciprocal recombination results in the formation of a crossover, creating the tension required to properly segregate homologs during the first round of meiosis.

Two mechanisms involved in regulating the occurrence of crossing over are assurance and interference. Crossover assurance describes the phenomenon that at least one crossover will form between each pair of homologous chromosomes during prophase I. Crossover interference, on the other hand, describes the nonrandom placement of crossovers between homologs, increasing the probability that a second crossover will occur at a discrete distance away from the first one.

In addition to assurance and interference, chromosome size may play a role in the rate of meiotic recombination during prophase I. As a result of crossover assurance, small chromosomes receive a minimum of one crossover, the obligate crossover. Assuming chromosome size does not influence the rate of recombination, pairs of large chromosomes should experience the same number of crossovers per base pair as small chromosomes. Previous studies have been inconsistent: Kaback et al. (1999) saw decreased rates of crossing over between large chromosomes relative to small ones, suggesting that crossover interference acts across a larger distance on large chromosomes. Turney et al. (2004), however, saw no such effect, suggesting that these findings may be site- or sequence-specific.

The current study used the Cre-loxP system to create translocated chromosomes, decreasing the size of chromosome VIII from 562 kb to 125 kb. The rate of crossing over was evaluated using nutrient marker genes that were inserted on the left arm of chromosome VIII to facilitate phenotypic detection of crossing over between homologous translocated chromosomes in comparison to crossing over between homologous nontranslocated chromosomes.

Translocated strains were attempted, though further testing suggests that the translocation itself may be lethal. In the future, we plan to further investigate the potential lethal nature of the translocation.

We also experienced difficulty in curing yeast cells of the Cre expression plasmid: as pSH47 was removed, translocated chromosomes reverted to nontranslocated chromosomes. In addition, crossing over in nontranslocated yeast, along with subsequent molecular analysis, revealed that one of the marker genes presumed to be on the left arm of chromosome VIII is, in fact, located on a different chromosome, preventing analysis of crossing over in this region. As a result, we were unable to proceed with current experimentation.

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