The relationship between chromosome pairing and chromosome fragmentation has been studied in a gene controlled mutant of pearl millet (2n = 14). Premeiotic mitosis, premeiotic cell development and early prophase I are normal without any fragments, which first appear at pachytene. The extent of fragmentation varies from zero to very extreme with two discrete classes of plants, namely those with partial fragmentation and those with multiple fragmentation. A quantitative analysis of bivalent distribution and the distribution of AI bridges in desynaptic and fragmented cells show all of them to be nonrandom events. We suggest that in cells showing partial fragmentation the bridges and fragments result from U-type exchanges at pachytene. The reduced frequency of AII bridges indicates relatively low sister chromatid reunion at pachytene. In multiple fragmented plants numerous minute fragments were seen from pachytene. Despite these anomalies most PMCs complete meiosis but subsequently abort at the pollen grain stage. The mutant gene also causes disturbances in the sequence of meiotic development in the ear and in the synchronous development of PMCs within an anther. It has no effect on the tapetum or on the physiological development of the anther.
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