B chromosomes of maize (Zea mays L.) are positioned nonrandomly within sperm nuclei

Maxine Losoff Rusche, H. L. Mogensen, Annie Chaboud, Jean Emmanuel Faure, Mireille Rougier, Paul Keim, Christian Dumas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


We used fluorescence in situ hybridization to identify and map the position of B chromosomes (supernumerary chromosomes) within maize sperm cells. Observations on over 1,000 sperm cells from several genotypes show that, on average, the B chromosomes are positioned in the tip one-fourth of the sperm nucleus two-thirds of the time. In contrast, the centromeres and knobs of the A chromosomes (the normal set) are not restricted to the tip portion of the nucleus. To our knowledge, this is the first example of specific chromosome positioning within a plant gamete. Studies on nuclear architecture of somatic cells in both plants and animals suggest that chromosome behavior and gene expression may correlate with chromosome position within the nucleus. The functional significance of nonrandom positioning of the B chromosomes within maize sperm is as yet unclear.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-234
Number of pages4
JournalSexual Plant Reproduction
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 2001


  • B chromosomes
  • Fluorescence in situ hybridization
  • Maize sperm cells
  • Nuclear architecture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology


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