Sex Differences in the Chromosome Map

Science News, June 8, 1985 | Go to article overview

Sex Differences in the Chromosome Map


Gene by gene, biologists are plotting the map of the human chromosome, and the work is progressing rapidly. "We now expect complete maps of all of the human chromosomes in three to five years," says Raymond White of the University of Utah Medical Center in Salt Lake City. The distances on these genetic maps represent the probability that a chromosome will the corresponding pieces of the partner chromosome. Such recombination may occur several times on each chromosome during meiosis, the cell division process that produces egg and sperm. The farther apart two genes are on a chromosome, the more likely it is that recombination will occur between them.

Maternal and paternal chromosomes have different maps, White reports. He says this finding is the most surprising outcome of the mapping work so far. In some pairs of chromosomes, the maternal chromosome appears longer than the paternal one, according to the recombination analysis used for genetic mapping, and in other pairs the paternal chromosomes of each longer than the maternal. …

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