Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

Now in our 9th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Homing in on chromosomal activity in meiosis using super-resolution microscopy

20 July 2020

Swap Meet

We inherit a blend of mum and dad’s genetic traits, but our DNA was a jumble even before sperm met egg. Mum’s DNA, for example, was 'mixed' during meiosis, when corresponding or homologous regions of DNA came together to swap bits, giving each egg a blend of her parent’s genes. Here synaptonemal complex (SC) proteins help this crossing over to happen – these tiny biological machines are carefully ‘expanded’ after bathing in stretchy chemicals, so they're visible under sensitive structured illumination microscopy. A bit like a magician holding two balloon animals before they twist together, 'arms' of the SC (highlighted in red) attach to homologous regions of DNA called chromosomes, while green ‘filaments’ attached to a central 'body' (purple) help bring them together. This vital stage of meiosis is one of the reasons we are who we are, a unique combination of our parents, and grandparents too.

Written by John Ankers

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

What is BPoD?

BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

Read More

BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.