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PLoS Genet. 2007 Aug;3(8):e141. Epub 2007 Jul 10.

A discrete class of intergenic DNA dictates meiotic DNA break hotspots in fission yeast.

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  • 1Division of Basic Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington, United States of America.


Meiotic recombination is initiated by DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) made by Spo11 (Rec12 in fission yeast), which becomes covalently linked to the DSB ends. Like recombination events, DSBs occur at hotspots in the genome, but the genetic factors responsible for most hotspots have remained elusive. Here we describe in fission yeast the genome-wide distribution of meiosis-specific Rec12-DNA linkages, which closely parallel DSBs measured by conventional Southern blot hybridization. Prominent DSB hotspots are located approximately 65 kb apart, separated by intervals with little or no detectable breakage. Most hotspots lie within exceptionally large intergenic regions. Thus, the chromosomal architecture responsible for hotspots in fission yeast is markedly different from that of budding yeast, in which DSB hotspots are much more closely spaced and, in many regions of the genome, occur at each promoter. Our analysis in fission yeast reveals a clearly identifiable chromosomal feature that can predict the majority of recombination hotspots across a whole genome and provides a basis for searching for the chromosomal features that dictate hotspots of meiotic recombination in other organisms, including humans.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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