Kinetochore reorientation is the critical process ensuring normal chromosome distribution. Reorientation has been studied in living grasshopper spermatocytes, in which bivalents with both chromosomes oriented to the same pole (unipolar orientation) occur but are unstable: sooner or later one chromosome reorients, the stable, bipolar orientation results, and normal anaphase segregation to opposite poles follows. One possible source of stability in bipolar orientations is the normal spindle forces toward opposite poles, which slightly stretch the bivalent. This tension is lacking in unipolar orientations because all the chromosomal spindle fibers and spindle forces are directed toward one pole. The possible role of tension has been tested directly by micromanipulation of bivalents in unipolar orientation to artificially create the missing tension. Without exception, such bivalents never reorient before the tension is released; a total time "under tension" of over 5 hr has been accumulated in experiments on eight bivalents in eight cells. In control experiments these same bivalents reoriented from a unipolar orientation within 16 min, on the average, in the absence of tension. Controlled reorientation and chromosome segregation can be explained from the results of these and related experiments.

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