Genetics

Understanding Recombination

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Science  05 Oct 2012:
Vol. 338, Issue 6103, pp. 17
DOI: 10.1126/science.338.6103.17-a

Recombination, the process of chromosomal exchanges to foster genetic variation, occurs variably along the genomes of plants and animals, with certain regions showing more crossovers than others. One feature that controls crossovers is the presence or absence of methylation on the DNA sequences, where densely methylated regions show low rates of crossover events. Colomé-Tatché et al. examined genome-wide recombination patterns in Arabidopsis plants with parents of differing methylation status: one heavily methylated and the other hypomethylated. Among the offspring, regions of high and low methylation were traced and genome-wide recombination events were inferred. Although methylation patterns did seem to affect crossover rates in parts of the genome, crossovers were suppressed near the centrosome, even in individuals with low amounts of methylation in this area. These results suggest that recombination events in this region are insensitive to natural DNA sequence variation and methylation state and help to provide a framework to delineate the epigenetic basis of complex traits in Arabidopsis.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 109, 10.1073/pnas.1212955109 (2012).

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