Meiotic recombination rates can vary widely across genomes, with hotspots of intense activity interspersed among cold regions. In yeast, hotspots tend to occur in promoter regions of genes, whereas in humans and mice, hotspots are largely defined by binding sites of the positive-regulatory domain zinc finger protein 9. To investigate the detailed recombination pattern in a flowering plant, we use shotgun resequencing of a wild population of the monkeyflower Mimulus guttatus to precisely locate over 400,000 boundaries of historic crossovers or gene conversion tracts. Their distribution defines some 13,000 hotspots of varying strengths, interspersed with cold regions of undetectably low recombination. Average recombination rates peak near starts of genes and fall off sharply, exhibiting polarity. Within genes, recombination tracts are more likely to terminate in exons than in introns. The general pattern is similar to that observed in yeast, as well as in positive-regulatory domain zinc finger protein 9-knockout mice, suggesting that recombination initiation described here in Mimulus may reflect ancient and conserved eukaryotic mechanisms.
Keywords: plant biology; population genetics.