Let's get physical - mechanisms of crossover interference

J Cell Sci. 2021 May 15;134(10):jcs255745. doi: 10.1242/jcs.255745. Epub 2021 May 26.


The formation of crossovers between homologous chromosomes is key to sexual reproduction. In most species, crossovers are spaced further apart than would be expected if they formed independently, a phenomenon termed crossover interference. Despite more than a century of study, the molecular mechanisms implementing crossover interference remain a subject of active debate. Recent findings of how signaling proteins control the formation of crossovers and about the interchromosomal interface in which crossovers form offer new insights into this process. In this Review, we present a cell biological and biophysical perspective on crossover interference, summarizing the evidence that links interference to the spatial, dynamic, mechanical and molecular properties of meiotic chromosomes. We synthesize this physical understanding in the context of prevailing mechanistic models that aim to explain how crossover interference is implemented.

Keywords: Chromosomes; Meiosis; Phase separation, Crossover interference.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chromosomes / genetics
  • Crossing Over, Genetic*
  • Meiosis*