For most eukaryotes, sexual reproduction is a fundamental process that requires meiosis. In turn, meiosis typically depends on a reciprocal exchange of DNA between each pair of homologous chromosomes, known as a crossover (CO), to ensure proper chromosome segregation. The frequency and distribution of COs are regulated by intrinsic and extrinsic environmental factors, but much more is known about the molecular mechanisms governing the former compared to the latter. Here we show that elevated temperature induces meiotic hyper-recombination in Arabidopsis thaliana and we use genetic analysis with mutants in different recombination pathways to demonstrate that the extra COs are derived from the major Type I interference sensitive pathway. We also show that heat-induced COs are not the result of an increase in DNA double-strand breaks and that the hyper-recombinant phenotype is likely specific to thermal stress rather than a more generalized stress response. Taken together, these findings provide initial mechanistic insight into how environmental cues modulate plant meiotic recombination and may also offer practical applications.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Molecular Biology
- Cancer Research