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Preparation of Meiotic Chromosome Spreads from Zebrafish Spermatocytes.

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Meiosis is the key cellular process required to create haploid gametes for sexual reproduction. Model organisms have been instrumental in understanding the chromosome events that take place during meiotic prophase, including the pairing, synapsis, and recombination events that ensure proper chromosome segregation. While the mouse has been an important model for understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying these processes, not all meiotic events in this system are analogous to human meiosis. We recently demonstrated the exciting potential of the zebrafish as a model of human spermatogenesis. Here we describe, in detail, our methods to visualize meiotic chromosomes and associated proteins in chromosome spread preparations. These preparations have the advantage of allowing high resolution analysis of chromosome structures. First, we describe the procedure for dissecting testes from adult zebrafish, followed by cell dissociation, lysis, and spreading of the chromosomes. Next, we describe the procedure for detecting the localization of meiotic chromosome proteins, by immunofluorescence detection, and nucleic acid sequences, by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). These techniques comprise a useful set of tools for the cytological analysis of meiotic chromatin architecture in the zebrafish system. Researchers in the zebrafish community should be able to quickly master these techniques and incorporate them into their standard analyses of reproductive function.

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