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Genetics. Oct 2003; 165(2): 849–865.
PMCID: PMC1462767

High-resolution crossover maps for each bivalent of Zea mays using recombination nodules.


Recombination nodules (RNs) are closely correlated with crossing over, and, because they are observed by electron microscopy of synaptonemal complexes (SCs) in extended pachytene chromosomes, RNs provide the highest-resolution cytological marker currently available for defining the frequency and distribution of crossovers along the length of chromosomes. Using the maize inbred line KYS, we prepared an SC karyotype in which each SC was identified by relative length and arm ratio and related to the proper linkage group using inversion heterozygotes. We mapped 4267 RNs on 2080 identified SCs to produce high-resolution maps of RN frequency and distribution on each bivalent. RN frequencies are closely correlated with both chiasma frequencies and SC length. The total length of the RN recombination map is about twofold shorter than that of most maize linkage maps, but there is good correspondence between the relative lengths of the different maps when individual bivalents are considered. Each bivalent has a unique distribution of crossing over, but all bivalents share a high frequency of distal RNs and a severe reduction of RNs at and near kinetochores. The frequency of RNs at knobs is either similar to or higher than the average frequency of RNs along the SCs. These RN maps represent an independent measure of crossing over along maize bivalents.

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