The distribution and causes of meiotic recombination in the human genome

S. Myers, C. C.A. Spencer, A. Auton, L. Bottolo, C. Freeman, P. Donnelly, G. McVean

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Using the statistical analysis of genetic variation, we have developed a high-resolution genetic map of recombination hotspots and recombination rate variation across the human genome. This map, which has a resolution several orders of magnitude greater than previous studies, identifies over 25 000 recombination hotspots and gives new insights into the distribution and determination of recombination. Wavelet-based analysis demonstrates scale-specific influences of base composition, coding context and DNA repeats on recombination rates, though, in contrast with other species, no association with DNase I hypersensitivity. We have also identified specific DNA motifs that are strongly associated with recombination hotspots and whose activity is influenced by local context. Comparative analysis of recombination rates in humans and chimpanzees demonstrates very high rates of evolution of the fine-scale structure of the recombination landscape. In the light of these observations, we suggest possible resolutions of the hotspot paradox.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)526-530
Number of pages5
JournalBiochemical Society transactions
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Evolution
  • Hotspot
  • Human genome
  • Meiosis
  • Recombination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry


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