Definition of synaptonemal complex in US English:

synaptonemal complex


  • A ladder-like series of parallel threads visible in electron microscopy adjacent to and coaxial with pairing chromosomes in meiosis.

    • ‘The nucleus reorganizes during this time, as sister chromosomes pair and the synaptonemal complex forms.’
    • ‘Despite no or reduced exchange, both mutant alleles have normal synaptonemal complex.’
    • ‘The early gene family encodes factors required for meiotic DNA replication, chromosome pairing, synaptonemal complex formation, and meiotic recombination.’
    • ‘In the absence of recombination, it has been suggested that the synaptonemal complex may assume this role in some organisms.’
    • ‘The synaptonemal complex is present at this stage, and meiotic recombination is completed within this context.’


1950s: from synapto- (combining form of synapsis) + Greek nēma ‘thread’ + -al.


synaptonemal complex

/səˌnaptəˌnēməl ˈkämpleks/