Crossover clustering and rapid decay of linkage disequilibrium in the Xp/Yp pseudoautosomal gene SHOX

Nat Genet. 2002 Jul;31(3):272-5. doi: 10.1038/ng918. Epub 2002 Jun 24.


Crossover between the human sex chromosomes during male meiosis is restricted to the terminal pseudoautosomal pairing regions. An obligatory exchange occurs in PAR1, an Xp/Yp pseudoautosomal region of 2.6 Mb, which creates a male-specific recombination 'hot domain' with a recombination rate that is about 20 times higher than the genome average. Low-resolution analysis of PAR1 suggests that crossovers are distributed fairly randomly. By contrast, linkage disequilibrium (LD) and sperm crossover analyses indicate that crossovers in autosomal regions tend to cluster into 'hot spots' of 1-2 kb that lie between islands of disequilibrium of tens to hundreds of kilobases. To determine whether at high resolution this autosomal pattern also applies to PAR1, we have examined linkage disequilibrium over an interval of 43 kb around the gene SHOX. Here we show that in northern European populations, disequilibrium decays rapidly with physical distance, which is consistent with this interval of PAR1 being recombinationally active in male meiosis. Analysis of a subregion of 9.9 kb in sperm shows, however, that crossovers are not distributed randomly, but instead cluster into an intense recombination hot spot that is very similar in morphology to autosomal hot spots. Thus, PAR1 crossover activity may be influenced by male-specific hot spots that are highly suitable for characterization by sperm DNA analysis.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Crossing Over, Genetic*
  • Diploidy
  • Genetic Variation
  • Genotype
  • Haplotypes
  • Heterozygote
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Linkage Disequilibrium / genetics*
  • Male
  • Meiosis
  • Mutation
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism
  • Recombination, Genetic
  • Short Stature Homeobox Protein
  • Spermatozoa / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • X Chromosome / genetics*
  • Y Chromosome / genetics*


  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • SHOX protein, human
  • Short Stature Homeobox Protein