Recombination rate variation in closely related species

Heredity (Edinb). 2011 Dec;107(6):496-508. doi: 10.1038/hdy.2011.44. Epub 2011 Jun 15.


Despite their importance to successful meiosis and various evolutionary processes, meiotic recombination rates sometimes vary within species or between closely related species. For example, humans and chimpanzees share virtually no recombination hotspot locations in the surveyed portion of the genomes. However, conservation of recombination rates between closely related species has also been documented, raising an apparent contradiction. Here, we evaluate how and why conflicting patterns of recombination rate conservation and divergence may be observed, with particular emphasis on features that affect recombination, and the scale and method with which recombination is surveyed. Additionally, we review recent studies identifying features influencing fine-scale and broad-scale recombination patterns and informing how quickly recombination rates evolve, how changes in recombination impact selection and evolution in natural populations, and more broadly, which forces influence genome evolution.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Eukaryota / genetics*
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Genome*
  • Humans
  • Pan troglodytes / genetics
  • Recombination, Genetic*
  • Selection, Genetic