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Am J Hum Genet. 2002 Dec;71(6):1353-68. Epub 2002 Nov 12.

Male mouse recombination maps for each autosome identified by chromosome painting.

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Comparative Molecular Cytogenetics Section, Genetics Branch, National Cancer Institute, Frederick, MD, USA.


Linkage maps constructed from genetic analysis of gene order and crossover frequency provide few clues to the basis of genomewide distribution of meiotic recombination, such as chromosome structure, that influences meiotic recombination. To bridge this gap, we have generated the first cytological recombination map that identifies individual autosomes in the male mouse. We prepared meiotic chromosome (synaptonemal complex [SC]) spreads from 110 mouse spermatocytes, identified each autosome by multicolor fluorescence in situ hybridization of chromosome-specific DNA libraries, and mapped >2,000 sites of recombination along individual autosomes, using immunolocalization of MLH1, a mismatch repair protein that marks crossover sites. We show that SC length is strongly correlated with crossover frequency and distribution. Although the length of most SCs corresponds to that predicted from their mitotic chromosome length rank, several SCs are longer or shorter than expected, with corresponding increases and decreases in MLH1 frequency. Although all bivalents share certain general recombination features, such as few crossovers near the centromeres and a high rate of distal recombination, individual bivalents have unique patterns of crossover distribution along their length. In addition to SC length, other, as-yet-unidentified, factors influence crossover distribution leading to hot regions on individual chromosomes, with recombination frequencies as much as six times higher than average, as well as cold spots with no recombination. By reprobing the SC spreads with genetically mapped BACs, we demonstrate a robust strategy for integrating genetic linkage and physical contig maps with mitotic and meiotic chromosome structure.

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