ABSTRACT: Among mammals, genetic recombination occurs at highly delimited sites known as recombination hotspots. They are typically 1-2 kb long and vary as much as a 1,000-fold or more in recombination activity. Although much is known about the molecular details of the recombination process itself, the factors determining the location and relative activity of hotspots are poorly understood. To further our understanding, we have collected and mapped the locations of 5,472 crossover events along mouse Chromosome 1 arising in 6,028 meioses of male and female reciprocal F1 hybrids of C57BL/6J and CAST/EiJ mice. Crossovers were mapped to a minimum resolution of 225 kb, and those in the telomere-proximal 24.7 Mb were further mapped to resolve individual hotspots. Recombination rates were evolutionarily conserved on a regional scale, but not at the local level. There was a clear negative-exponential relationship between the relative activity and abundance of hotspot activity classes, such that a small number of the most active hotspots account for the majority of recombination. Females had 1.2x higher overall recombination than males did, although the sex ratio showed considerable regional variation. Locally, entirely sex-specific hotspots were rare. The initiation of recombination at the most active hotspot was regulated independently on the two parental chromatids, and analysis of reciprocal crosses indicated that parental imprinting has subtle effects on recombination rates. It appears that the regulation of mammalian recombination is a complex, dynamic process involving multiple factors reflecting species, sex, individual variation within species, and the properties of individual hotspots.
PLoS Genetics 08/2008; 4(7):e1000119. · 8.69 Impact Factor