Domain-specific regulation of recombination in Caenorhabditis elegans in response to temperature, age and sex

Genetics. 2008 Oct;180(2):715-26. doi: 10.1534/genetics.108.090142. Epub 2008 Sep 9.


It is generally considered that meiotic recombination rates increase with temperature, decrease with age, and differ between the sexes. We have reexamined the effects of these factors on meiotic recombination in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans using physical markers that encompass >96% of chromosome III. The only difference in overall crossover frequency between oocytes and male sperm was observed at 16 degrees . In addition, crossover interference (CI) differs between the germ lines, with oocytes displaying higher CI than male sperm. Unexpectedly, our analyses reveal significant changes in crossover distribution in the hermaphrodite oocyte in response to temperature. This feature appears to be a general feature of C. elegans chromosomes as similar changes in response to temperature are seen for the X chromosome. We also find that the distribution of crossovers changes with age in both hermaphrodites and females. Our observations indicate that it is the oocytes from the youngest mothers-and not the oldest-that showed a different pattern of crossovers. Our data enhance the emerging hypothesis that recombination in C. elegans, as in humans, is regulated in large chromosomal domains.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / physiology
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Chromosomes / genetics
  • Crossing Over, Genetic
  • Female
  • Genes, Helminth
  • Male
  • Models, Genetic
  • Oocytes / metabolism
  • Recombination, Genetic*
  • Reproduction / genetics
  • Reproduction / physiology
  • Spermatocytes / metabolism
  • Temperature*
  • X Chromosome