Studies on metatherian sex chromosomes III. The use of tritiated uridine-induced chromosome aberrations to distinguish active and inactive X chromosomes

Jennifer A. Donald, D. W. Cooper

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The paternal X inactivation system of kangaroos has been investigated in this study by using tritiated uridine-induced chromosome aberrations to distinguish the active from the inactive X. Previous work in eutherian mammals has demonstrated that constitutive heterochromatic chromosome regions are less susceptible to breakage by tritiated uri dine than euchromatic regions. The results of a comparison between the paternal X chromosome of a wallaroo x red kangaroo hybrid female and the two X chromosomes of a red kangaroo female suggested that the facultative heterochromatin of the X is also less susceptible to breakage by this treatment. However there were significantly more breaks of the paternal X in fibroblasts than in lymphocytes of the hybrid female, which agrees with biochemical findings suggesting activation of the paternal X in fibroblasts. Our results strengthen the suggestion of other workers that the reduced number of aberrations in heterochromatin occurs because such breaks occur principally when the DNA and labelled RNA are in apposition during transcription. Some evidence was found of an apparent toxicity effect of the tritiated uridine solution on the cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-114
Number of pages12
JournalAustralian journal of biological sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1977


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