The condensation of chromatin that occurs during epididymal maturation has been monitored indirectly by the exclusion of dyes that bind to nucleoproteins (aniline blue binds to the remaining histones) or deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) itself (acridine orange fluoresces green with native, double stranded, DNA but red with single stranded DNA generated in DNA-denaturing acid conditions). With both methods a decrease in the accessibility of the dye upon maturation is interpreted as a matur-ational increase in the extent of chromatin condensation (Fig. 4.2H). Chromatin condensation reflects oxidation of sulphydryl groups of protamines (Bedford et al., 1973) but nothing is known of any human enzymes involved in this process.
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