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Nature. 2018 Sep;561(7723):338-342. doi: 10.1038/s41586-018-0492-5. Epub 2018 Sep 5.

Extensive sex differences at the initiation of genetic recombination.

Author information

1
Genetics and Biochemistry Branch, National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.
2
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD, USA.
3
IRSET INSERM, U1085, Rennes, France.
4
Genetics and Biochemistry Branch, National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA. rdcamerini@mail.nih.gov.
5
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD, USA. galina.petukhova@usuhs.edu.

Abstract

Meiotic recombination differs between males and females; however, when and how these differences are established is unknown. Here we identify extensive sex differences at the initiation of recombination by mapping hotspots of meiotic DNA double-strand breaks in male and female mice. Contrary to past findings in humans, few hotspots are used uniquely in either sex. Instead, grossly different recombination landscapes result from up to fifteen-fold differences in hotspot usage between males and females. Indeed, most recombination occurs at sex-biased hotspots. Sex-biased hotspots seem to be partly determined by chromosome structure, and DNA methylation, which is absent in females at the onset of meiosis, has a substantial role. Sex differences are also evident later in meiosis as the rate at which meiotic breaks are repaired as crossovers differs between males and females in distal regions. The suppression of distal crossovers may help to minimize age-related aneuploidy that arises owing to cohesion loss during dictyate arrest in females.

PMID:
30185906
DOI:
10.1038/s41586-018-0492-5

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