The origin and molecular structure of the midget chromosome that is retained in a common wheat with rye cytoplasm, were studied by using fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH). FISH with biotinylated rye genomic DNA as a probe clearly showed that the midget chromosome had originated from certain part(s) of rye chromosome(s). The midget chromosome did not possess sequences similar to wheat rDNA nor to a rye telomeric sequence with a 350 bp repeat unit. However, another repetitive sequence (120 bp family) of rye was found to occur at one end of the midget chromosome. The telomeric repeat sequences from Arabidopsis thaliana cross-hybridized to both ends of the midget chromosome as well as to wheat chromosomes. From the results obtained in this and previous studies, it is assumed that the midget chromosome originated from part of a rye chromosome, most likely the centromeric region of chromosome 1R, and that the telomeric sequences were synthesized de novo.
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