Recombination rate variation in mice from an isolated island

Mol Ecol. 2017 Jan;26(2):457-470. doi: 10.1111/mec.13932. Epub 2016 Dec 21.


Recombination rate is a heritable trait that varies among individuals. Despite the major impact of recombination rate on patterns of genetic diversity and the efficacy of selection, natural variation in this phenotype remains poorly characterized. We present a comparison of genetic maps, sampling 1212 meioses, from a unique population of wild house mice (Mus musculus domesticus) that recently colonized remote Gough Island. Crosses to a mainland reference strain (WSB/EiJ) reveal pervasive variation in recombination rate among Gough Island mice, including subchromosomal intervals spanning up to 28% of the genome. In spite of this high level of polymorphism, the genomewide recombination rate does not significantly vary. In general, we find that recombination rate varies more when measured in smaller genomic intervals. Using the current standard genetic map of the laboratory mouse to polarize intervals with divergent recombination rates, we infer that the majority of evolutionary change occurred in one of the two tested lines of Gough Island mice. Our results confirm that natural populations harbour a high level of recombination rate polymorphism and highlight the disparities in recombination rate evolution across genomic scales.

Keywords: island evolution; linkage map; recombination; recombination rate evolution.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Genetic Variation
  • Genetics, Population*
  • Genome
  • Islands*
  • Mice / genetics*
  • Phenotype
  • Recombination, Genetic*