B chromosomes in plants: escapees from the A chromosome genome?

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Type Article
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)417-423
Number of pages7
JournalPlant Science
Volume8
Issue number9
Early online date06 Aug 2003
DOI
Publication statusPublished - 01 Sep 2003
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Abstract

B chromosomes are dispensable elements that do not recombine with the A chromosomes of the regular complement and that follow their own evolutionary track. In some cases, they are known to be nuclear parasites with autonomous modes of inheritance, exploiting ‘drive’ to ensure their survival in populations. Their ‘selfishness’ brings them into conflict with their host nuclear genome and generates a host–parasite relationship, with anti-B-chromosome genes working to ameliorate the worst of their excesses in depriving their hosts of genetic resources. Molecular studies are homing in on their sequence organization to give us an insight into the origin and evolution of these enigmatic chromosomes, which are, with rare exceptions, without active genes.