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As part of the Synthetic Yeast 2.0 (Sc2.0) project, we designed and synthesized synthetic chromosome I. The total length of synI is ~21.4% shorter than wild-type chromosome I, the smallest chromosome in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. SynI was designed for attachment to another synthetic chromosome due to concerns of potential instability and karyotype imbalance. We used a variation of a previously developed, robust CRISPR-Cas9 method to fuse chromosome I to other chromosome arms of varying length: chrIXR (84 kb), chrIIIR (202 kb) and chrIVR (1 Mb). All fusion chromosome strains grew like wild-type so we decided to attach synI to synIII. Through the investigation of three-dimensional structures of fusion chromosome strains, unexpected loops and twisted structures were formed in chrIII-I and chrIX-III-I fusion chromosomes, which depend on silencing protein Sir3. These results suggest a previously unappreciated 3D interaction between HMR and the adjacent telomere. We used these fusion chromosomes to show that axial element Red1 binding in meiosis is not strictly chromosome size dependent even though Red1 binding is enriched on the three smallest chromosomes in wild-type yeast, and we discovered an unexpected role for centromeres in Red1 binding patterns.

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