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Somatic pairing, endomitosis and chromosome aberrations in snakes (Viperidae and Colubridae)

DOI: 10.1590/S0001-37652003000300004

Keywords: snakes, somatic pairing, chromosome positioning, endomitosis, diplochromosomes.

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Abstract:

the positioning of macrochromosomes of bothrops jararaca and bothrops insularis (viperidae) was studied in undistorted radial metaphases of uncultured cells (spermatogonia and oogonia) not subjected to spindle inhibitors. colchicinized metaphases from uncultured (spleen and intestine) and cultured tissues (blood) were also analyzed. we report two antagonic non-random chromosome arrangements in untreated premeiotic cells: the parallel configuration with homologue chromosomes associated side by side in the metaphase plate and the antiparallel configuration having homologue chromosomes with antipolar distribution in the metaphase ring. the antiparallel aspect also appeared in colchicinized cells. the spatial chromosome arrangement in both configurations is groupal size-dependent and maintained through meiosis. we also describe, in untreated gonia cells, endomitosis followed by reductional mitosis which restores the diploid number. in b. jararaca males we observed that some gonad regions present changes in the meiotic mechanism. in this case, endoreduplicated cells segregate the diplochromosomes to opposite poles forming directly endoreduplicated second metaphases of meiosis with the suppression of first meiosis. by a successive division, these cells form nuclei with one set of chromosomes. chromosome doubling in oogonia is known in hybrid species and in parthenogenetic salamanders and lizards. this species also presented chromosome rearrangements leading to aneuploidies in mitosis and meiosis. it is suggested that somatic pairing, endomitosis, meiotic alterations, and chromosomal aberrations can be correlated processes. similar aspects of nuclei configurations, endomitosis and reductional mitosis were found in other viperidae and colubridae species.

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