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Genetics Research International
Volume 2012, Article ID 430587, 9 pages
Review Article

Homologue Pairing in Flies and Mammals: Gene Regulation When Two Are Involved

Department of Biological Sciences, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48202, USA

Received 27 June 2011; Revised 17 September 2011; Accepted 26 September 2011

Academic Editor: Douglas M. Ruden

Copyright © 2012 Manasi S. Apte and Victoria H. Meller. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Chromosome pairing is usually discussed in the context of meiosis. Association of homologues in germ cells enables chromosome segregation and is necessary for fertility. A few organisms, such as flies, also pair their entire genomes in somatic cells. Most others, including mammals, display little homologue pairing outside of the germline. Experimental evidence from both flies and mammals suggests that communication between homologues contributes to normal genome regulation. This paper will contrast the role of pairing in transmitting information between homologues in flies and mammals. In mammals, somatic homologue pairing is tightly regulated, occurring at specific loci and in a developmentally regulated fashion. Inappropriate pairing, or loss of normal pairing, is associated with gene misregulation in some disease states. While homologue pairing in flies is capable of influencing gene expression, the significance of this for normal expression remains unknown. The sex chromosomes pose a particularly interesting situation, as females are able to pair X chromosomes, but males cannot. The contribution of homologue pairing to the biology of the X chromosome will also be discussed.