Chromosome behavior in meiosis is well characterized from cytological and genetic descriptions but little is known of the underlying molecular mechanisms, largely because no one experimental system has been developed to support an integrated application of modern cytological, genetic, and molecular biological methods. To combine efficient analyses of meiotic chromosome structure and function in a single organism, we have extended to yeast methods for making spread preparations of nuclei. Features of yeast meiosis that parallel meiosis in large eukaryotes, such as bouquet formation and prophase chromosome condensation that occurs in concert with synaptonemal complex formation, are evident for the first time. The ability to analyze large numbers of nuclei at the light and electron microscopes in preparations amenable to a variety of cytological and immunocytological techniques will facilitate the description of meiosis at the molecular level in yeast.
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