Meiosis is a dynamic process during which chromosomes undergo condensation, pairing, crossing-over and disjunction. Stringent regulation of the distribution and quantity of meiotic crossovers is critical for proper chromosome segregation in many organisms. In humans, aberrant crossover placement and the failure to faithfully segregate meiotic chromosomes often results in severe genetic disorders such as Down syndrome and Edwards syndrome. In most sexually reproducing organisms, crossovers are more evenly spaced than would be expected from a random distribution. This phenomenon, termed interference, was first reported in the early 20(th) century by Drosophila geneticists and has been subsequently observed in a vast range of organisms from yeasts to humans. Yet, many questions regarding the behavior and mechanism of interference remain poorly understood. In this review, we examine results new and old, from a wide range of organisms, to begin to understand the progress and remaining challenges to understanding the fundamental unanswered questions regarding genetic interference.
Keywords: Double-strand break; Meiosis; Pch2.; Rec8; chromosome Spo11; crossover; recombination; synaptonemal complex.