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Mol Genet Genomics. 2014 Feb;289(1):11-24. doi: 10.1007/s00438-013-0784-2. Epub 2013 Oct 27.

High-resolution linkage map for two honeybee chromosomes: the hotspot quest.

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Laboratoire Evolution Génomes Spéciation, CNRS, avenue de la Terrasse, 91198, Gif-sur-Yvette Cedex, France,


Meiotic recombination is a fundamental process ensuring proper disjunction of homologous chromosomes and allele shuffling in successive generations. In many species, this cellular mechanism occurs heterogeneously along chromosomes and mostly concentrates in tiny fragments called recombination hotspots. Specific DNA motifs have been shown to initiate recombination in these hotspots in mammals, fission yeast and drosophila. The aim of this study was to check whether recombination also occurs in a heterogeneous fashion in the highly recombinogenic honeybee genome and whether this heterogeneity can be connected with specific DNA motifs. We completed a previous picture drawn from a routine genetic map built with an average resolution of 93 kb. We focused on the two smallest honeybee chromosomes to increase the resolution and even zoomed at very high resolution (3.6 kb) on a fragment of 300 kb. Recombination rates measured in these fragments were placed in relation with occurrence of 30 previously described motifs through a Poisson regression model. A selection procedure suitable for correlated variables was applied to keep significant motifs. These fine and ultra-fine mappings show that recombination rate is significantly heterogeneous although poorly contrasted between high and low recombination rate, contrarily to most model species. We show that recombination rate is probably associated with the DNA methylation state. Moreover, three motifs (CGCA, GCCGC and CCAAT) are good candidates of signals promoting recombination. Their influence is however moderate, doubling at most the recombination rate. This discovery extends the way to recombination dissection in insects.

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