Since the publication of the first comprehensive linkage map for the laboratory mouse, the architecture of recombination as a basic biological process has become amenable to investigation in mammalian model organisms. Here we take advantage of high-density genotyping and the unique pedigree structure of the incipient Collaborative Cross to investigate the roles of sex and genetic background in mammalian recombination. Our results confirm the observation that map length is longer when measured through female meiosis than through male meiosis, but we find that this difference is modified by genotype at loci on both the X chromosome and the autosomes. In addition, we report a striking concentration of crossovers in the distal ends of autosomes in male meiosis that is absent in female meiosis. The presence of this pattern in both single- and double-recombinant chromosomes, combined with the absence of a corresponding asymmetry in the distribution of double-strand breaks, indicates a regulated sequence of events specific to male meiosis that is anchored by chromosome ends. This pattern is consistent with the timing of chromosome pairing and evolutionary constraints on male recombination. Finally, we identify large regions of reduced crossover frequency that together encompass 5% of the genome. Many of these "cold regions" are enriched for segmental duplications, suggesting an inverse local correlation between recombination rate and mutation rate for large copy number variants.
Keywords: cold regions; linkage map; mouse CC; recombination; sex effects.