Int J Biol Sci 2005; 1(3):123-125. doi:10.7150/ijbs.1.123

Short Research Communication

A new way of describing meiosis that uses fractal dimension to predict metaphase I

Cynthia M. Ross

Department of Biological Sciences, Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops, BC V2C 5N3, Canada


Meiosis, the reductive nuclear division, is a continuum, but for purposes of communication, is described in stages. In sexually-reproducing organisms, including the dwarf mistletoe Arceuthobium americanum, prophase I of meiosis is prolonged (8 months for female A. americanum). Conversely, metaphase I, where chromosome pairs line up along a dividing cell's "equator", is relatively brief, difficult to predict, but critical regarding the random distribution of the paternal and maternal chromosomes in sexual organisms. However, descriptions of meiosis as either a continuum or stages are limited to qualitative observations. A quantification of meiosis can provide mathematical descriptors and allow for the prediction of when chromosomes reach the equator; this will not only be useful to researchers of cell division, but also to those requiring a large sample of metaphase I materials. Here, the probability-density function was used to calculate the fractal dimension of A. americanum nuclei undergoing early meiosis, and it predicted the onset of metaphase I by 2 days.

Keywords: chromosomal condensation, dwarf mistletoe, fractal, meiosis, probability-density function, quantification

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How to cite this article:
Ross CM. A new way of describing meiosis that uses fractal dimension to predict metaphase I. Int J Biol Sci 2005; 1(3):123-125. doi:10.7150/ijbs.1.123. Available from