Sex-specific crossover distributions and variations in interference level along Arabidopsis thaliana chromosome 4

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Abstract

In many species, sex-related differences in crossover (CO) rates have been described at chromosomal and regional levels. In this study, we determined the CO distribution along the entire Arabidopsis thaliana Chromosome 4 (18 Mb) in male and female meiosis, using high density genetic maps built on large backcross populations (44 markers, >1,300 plants). We observed dramatic differences between male and female map lengths that were calculated as 88 cM and 52 cM, respectively. This difference is remarkably parallel to that between the total synaptonemal complex lengths measured in male and female meiocytes by immunolabeling of ZYP1 (a component of the synaptonemal complex). Moreover, CO landscapes were clearly different: in particular, at both ends of the map, male CO rates were higher (up to 4-fold the mean value), whereas female CO rates were equal or even below the chromosomal average. This unique material gave us the opportunity to perform a detailed analysis of CO interference on Chromosome 4 in male and female meiosis. The number of COs per chromosome and the distances between them clearly departs from randomness. Strikingly, the interference level (measured by coincidence) varied significantly along the chromosome in male meiosis and was correlated to the physical distance between COs. The significance of this finding on the relevance of current CO interference models is discussed.

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Drouaud, J., Mercier, R., Chelysheva, L., Bérard, A., Falque, M., Martin, O., … Mézard, C. (2007). Sex-specific crossover distributions and variations in interference level along Arabidopsis thaliana chromosome 4. PLoS Genetics, 3(6), 1096–1107. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.0030106

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