Covariation of Synaptonemal Complex Length and Mammalian Meiotic Exchange Rates

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Science  21 Jun 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5576, pp. 2222-2225
DOI: 10.1126/science.1071220

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Analysis of recombination between loci (linkage analysis) has been a cornerstone of human genetic research, enabling investigators to localize and, ultimately, identify genetic loci. However, despite these efforts little is known about patterns of meiotic exchange in human germ cells or the mechanisms that control these patterns. Using recently developed immunofluorescence methodology to examine exchanges in human spermatocytes, we have identified remarkable variation in the rate of recombination within and among individuals. Subsequent analyses indicate that, in humans and mice, this variation is linked to differences in the length of the synaptonemal complex. Thus, at least in mammals, a physical structure, the synaptonemal complex, reflects genetic rather than physical distance.

  • * These authors contributed equally to this work.

  • To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: tjh6{at}

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