In Bombyx mori oocytes the synaptonemal complexes are retained in modified from pachytene to metaphase I. At the end of pachytene the length and width of the lateral components of the complex increase, whereafter the complexes become compacted during later stages of the meiotic prophase. Ultimately, at metaphase I the modified synaptonemal complexes of individual bivalents fuse to form a more or less continuous sheet between the homologus chromosomes. This sheet corresponds to the structure historically known as the 'elimination chromatin'. It is concluded that in the absence of crossing over and chiasma formation in Bombyx mori females the retainment and subsequent modification of the synaptonemal complex has evolved as a substitute mechanism to ensure regular disjunction of the bivalents.