Recombination rates and genomic shuffling in human and chimpanzee - A new twist in the chromosomal speciation theory

Marta Farré, Diego Micheletti, Aurora Ruiz-Herrera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


A long-standing question in evolutionary biology concerns the effect of recombination in shaping the genomic architecture of organisms and, in particular, how this impacts the speciation process. Despite efforts employed in the last decade, the role of chromosomal reorganizations in the human-chimpanzee speciation process remains unresolved. Through whole-genome comparisons, we have analyzed the genome-wide impact of genomic shuffling in the distribution of human recombination rates during the human-chimpanzee speciation process. We have constructed a highly refined map of the reorganizations and evolutionary breakpoint regions in the human and chimpanzee genomes based on orthologous genes and genome sequence alignments. The analysis of the most recent human and chimpanzee recombination maps inferred from genome-wide single-nucleotide polymorphism data revealed that the standardized recombination rate was significantly lower in rearranged than in collinear chromosomes. In fact, rearranged chromosomes presented significantly lower recombination rates than chromosomes that have been maintained since the ancestor of great apes, and this was related with the lineage in which they become fixed. Importantly, inverted regions had lower recombination rates than collinear and noninverted regions, independently of the effect of centromeres. Our observations have implications for the chromosomal speciation theory, providing new evidences for the contribution of inversions in suppressing recombination in mammals. © 2012 The Author(s) 2012. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)853-864
JournalMolecular Biology and Evolution
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2013


  • chimpanzee
  • hemiplasy
  • human
  • inversions
  • recombination
  • reorganizations
  • speciation

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Recombination rates and genomic shuffling in human and chimpanzee - A new twist in the chromosomal speciation theory'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this