Onion (Allium cepa) and bean (Vicia faba) root tip cells containing many micronuclei, derived from x-ray-induced chromosome fragments, were exposed to H3-thymidine and H3-cytidine to determine the ability of such fragments to undergo DNA and RNA synthesis. Only a few micronuclei in onion and many in bean roots synthesize nucleic acid simultaneously with their main nuclei. A few micronuclei labeled with H3-thymidine undergo mitotic chromosome condensation along with the main nuclei, while the unlabeled ones never do so. The onset of nucleic acid synthesis as well as mitosis in micronuclei appears to be under generalized cellular control. Although all chromosomes and chromosome fragments at telophase give a positive reaction for a silver stainable nucleolar fraction, in the subsequent interphase only some micronuclei, derived from such chromosome fragments, are found to maintain nucleoli; others lose them with time. Those micronuclei which maintain nucleoli, perhaps due to the presence of specific chromosomal regions, are also active in DNA and RNA synthesis. These results are compatible with the concept that nucleoli and associated chromosome regions play an important role in the primary biosynthetic processes of the cell.

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