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Exp Cell Res. 2012 Jul 15;318(12):1347-52. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2012.03.025. Epub 2012 Mar 31.

The spatial regulation of meiotic recombination hotspots: are all DSB hotspots crossover hotspots?

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Institut Curie, Centre de Recherche, Paris, F-75248, France.


A key step for the success of meiosis is programmed homologous recombination, during which crossovers, or exchange of chromosome arms, take place. Crossovers increase genetic diversity but their main function is to ensure accurate chromosome segregation. Defects in crossover number and position produce aneuploidies that represent the main cause of miscarriages and chromosomal abnormalities such as Down's syndrome. Recombination is initiated by the formation of programmed double strand breaks (DSBs), which occur preferentially at places called DSB hotspots. Among all DSBs generated, only a small fraction is repaired by crossover, the other being repaired by other homologous recombination pathways. Crossover maps have been generated in a number of organisms, defining crossover hotspots. With the availability of genome-wide maps of DSBs as well as the ability to measure genetically the repair outcome at several hotspots, it is becoming more and more clear that not all DSB hotspots behave the same for crossover formation, suggesting that chromosomal features distinguish different types of hotspots.

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