Allium porrum L. (cultivated leek) (2n = 4x = 32) is a fertile tetraploid that forms bivalents with pericentric chiasmata at metaphase I. To investigate the basis of this unusual behavior for a tetraploid, we describe the karyotype, axial cores, synaptonemal complexes (SCs), and meiotic nodules of A. porrum. The karyotype appears to be autotetraploid. This conclusion is also supported by presynaptic alignment of axial cores in groups of four and partner trades between pairs of SCs. Numerous early nodules are distributed all along axial cores and SCs during zygonema, but they are lost by late zygonema - early pachynema. Late (recombination) nodules (RNs) are present on SCs near kinetochores throughout the remainder of pachynema. This pattern of RNs corresponds to the pattern of pericentric chiasmata. Pachytene quadrivalents usually are resolved into bivalents because partner trades between SC lateral elements rarely occur between RNs on the same segment of SC. Thus, the patterns of crossing-over and partner trades promote balanced disjunction and high fertility in autotetraploid A. porrum. Rare quadrivalents observed at metaphase I must be due to infrequent partner trades between RNs. Polycomplexes, unusual in their number and size, were observed during zygonema. Key words : synaptonemal complex, recombination nodules, localized chiasmata, polycomplex, Allium porrum.
- Journal Article