DNA sequence differences are determinants of meiotic recombination outcome

Sci Rep. 2019 Nov 11;9(1):16446. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-52907-x.


Meiotic recombination is essential for producing healthy gametes, and also generates genetic diversity. DNA double-strand break (DSB) formation is the initiating step of meiotic recombination, producing, among other outcomes, crossovers between homologous chromosomes (homologs), which provide physical links to guide accurate chromosome segregation. The parameters influencing DSB position and repair are thus crucial determinants of reproductive success and genetic diversity. Using Schizosaccharomyces pombe, we show that the distance between sequence polymorphisms across homologs has a strong impact on meiotic recombination rate. The closer the sequence polymorphisms are to each other across the homologs the fewer recombination events were observed. In the immediate vicinity of DSBs, sequence polymorphisms affect the frequency of intragenic recombination events (gene conversions). Additionally, and unexpectedly, the crossover rate of flanking markers tens of kilobases away from the sequence polymorphisms was affected by their relative position to each other amongst the progeny having undergone intragenic recombination. A major regulator of this distance-dependent effect is the MutSα-MutLα complex consisting of Msh2, Msh6, Mlh1, and Pms1. Additionally, the DNA helicases Rqh1 and Fml1 shape recombination frequency, although the effects seen here are largely independent of the relative position of the sequence polymorphisms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Meiosis / genetics*
  • MutL Proteins / metabolism
  • Mutation
  • Recombination, Genetic*
  • Schizosaccharomyces / genetics
  • Schizosaccharomyces / metabolism
  • Schizosaccharomyces pombe Proteins / genetics


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Schizosaccharomyces pombe Proteins
  • MutL Proteins