Recombination dynamics and patterns of molecular evolution in a widespread species with repeat-based holocentromeres

This project will be supervised by André Marques at the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research (in collaboration with Steven Dreißig UniHalle)


Recombination patterns play a crucial role in genome evolution by affecting selection efficacy through interference and linked selection. These patterns are influenced by factors like meiotic dynamics, chromosome length, centromere and telomere positions, as well as epigenetic factors and environmental adaptability. Different centromere architectures result in varying recombination landscapes. In many plants, reduced recombination is observed near telomeres, especially in large genomes like Triticeae. However, holocentric species like Lepidoptera have higher genome-wide recombination rates and lack a single large low-recombining region. The holocentric nematode C. elegans shows recombination patterns similar to monocentric species. Holocentric plants have not been extensively studied in this context. Rhynchospora nervosa, a diploid plant found in the Americas, offers a unique opportunity to explore the interplay between holocentricity and genomic diversity due to its wide distribution, genomic resources, and holocentric genome. In this project we aim to advance our understanding of the relationship between recombination dynamics and patterns of molecular evolution in the context of holocentric karyotypes.

Key publication: Castellani, M., Zhang, M., Thangavel, G., Mata Sucre, Y., Lux, T., Campoy, J.A., Marek, M., Huettel, B., Sun, H., Mayer, K.F.X., Schneeberger, K., Marques, A. (2023). Meiotic recombination dynamics in plants with repeat-based holocentromeres shed light on the primary drivers of crossover patterning (PREPRINT)

Link to Marques group hompage:

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