What are they?

Lampbrush chromosomes (LBCs) are transitory structures that exist during an extended diplotene of the first meiotic division in females gametocytes of most animals, except mammals. The chromosomes go from a compact telophase form at the end of the last oogonial mitosis, become lampbrushy and then contract again to form normal first meiotic metaphase bivalents. Their most conspicuous feature is widespread RNA transcription from thousands of transcription units that are arranged at short intervals along the lengths of all the chromosomes. In these senses it has been possible to exploit LBCs in the study of chromosome organization and gene expression during meiotic prophase, and in studies of the molecular and supramolecular morphology of RNA transcription.

LBCs were first seen in sections of salamander (Ambystoma mexicanum) oocytes by Flemming in 1882. Ten years later they were described in the oocytes of a dogfish by Ruckert (1892). The name lampbrush comes from Ruckert, who likened the objects to a 19th Century lampbrush, equivalent to the 20th Century test-tube brush.

From this Website you will be able to download and print out for yourself the fullest possible information on the biology of these chromosomes (Introduction), and of ways of isolating and looking at them (Protocols). You will also find profiles of the people and labs that are currently working on them and have made major contributions to lampbrushology in the past, as well as pictures of LBCs, information about animal sources for lampbrushology and molecular probes that have been used in lampbrush research. And there is a comprehensive bibliography comprising all the publications on LBCs since their discovery in 1882.

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Lampbrush Chromosomes by Herbert Macgregor is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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