Despite the existence of formal models to explain how chromosomal rearrangements can be fixed in a population in the presence of gene flow, few empirical data are available regarding the mechanisms by which genome shuffling contributes to speciation, especially in mammals. In order to shed light on this intriguing evolutionary process, here we present a detailed empirical study that shows how Robertsonian (Rb) fusions alter the chromosomal distribution of recombination events during the formation of the germline in a Rb system of the western house mouse (Mus musculus domesticus). Our results indicate that both the total number of meiotic crossovers and the chromosomal distribution of recombination events are reduced in mice with Rb fusions and that this can be related to alterations in epigenetic signatures for heterochromatinization. Furthermore, we detected novel house mouse Prdm9 allelic variants in the Rb system. Remarkably, mean recombination rates were positively correlated with a decrease in the number of ZnF domains in the Prdm9 gene. The suggestion that recombination can be modulated by both chromosomal reorganizations and genetic determinants that control the formation of double-stranded breaks during meiosis opens new avenues for understanding the role of recombination in chromosomal speciation. © 2014 The Authors Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.
|Journal||Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences|
|Publication status||Published - 21 May 2014|
- House mouse
- Robertsonian fusion