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Meiotic recombination in polyploids
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Keywords :Arabidopsis thaliana - Physcomitrella patens- meiosis - meiotic recombination - mitotic recombination- mismatch repair - gene targeting - mutants

Doctoral school affiliation : ED 145 Sciences du végétal
Contacts :

Institut Jean-Pierre Bourgin, UMR1318 INRA-AgroParisTech
Bâtiment 7
INRA Centre de Versailles-Grignon
Route de St-Cyr (RD10)
78026 Versailles Cedex France

tél : +33 (0)1 30 83 30 00 - fax : +33 (0)1 30 83 33 19

Eric Jenczewski
Research Scientist

Aurélien Blary
PhD student (Young scientist contract CJS)
from 01/10/13 to 30/09/16


Andrew Lloyd
FP7-PEOPLE-2013-IOF Project
Marie Curie Action

from 01/05/16 to 30/04/17

web page

Adrian Gonzalo Sanchez
PhD student
from 010/9/14 to



Summary :

It is now clearly established that all flowering plants have experienced at least one and usually several rounds of whole genome duplications (WGD) during the course of their evolution. Nearly 30% of existing flowering plants are polyploids, including most of the world’s important crops, such as wheat, cotton or oilseed rape.
We are investigating the consequences of polyploidy on meiotic recombination. Our work focuses on three major themes: How is meiotic recombination regulated in polyploid (crop) species? To what extent have past WGDs modified the core meiotic “tool-kit”? How can such improved knowledge on recombination be exploited for crop improvement? We are addressing these questions using oilseed rape (Brassica napus) as main model species.


Main Results :

To what extent have past whole genome duplications modified the core meiotic “tool-kit”?


We have shown that meiotic genes return to a single copy more rapidly than genome-wide average following angiosperm WGDs (Lloyd et al., 2014). The rate at which duplicates are lost decreases through time, with the sharpest decline being observed for the subset of genes mediating meiotic recombination. However, we found no evidence that the presence of these duplicates is counter-selected in oilseed rape and wheat, two recent polyploid crops selected for fertility. We therefore propose that their loss is passive, highlighting how quickly WGDs are resolved in the absence of selective duplicate retention.

Figure 1 : Duplicate genes are lost following angiosperm WGDs


How pairs of homologous chromosomes are formed in polyploid (crop) species?

In allopolyploid species, correct chromosome segregation requires efficient chromosome sorting between homologous and homoeologous chromosomes (i.e. inherited from the parental species). We have shown that this occurs very early during prophase I in Brassica napus (AACC), a young polyphyletic allotetraploid crop species with closely related homoeologous chromosomes (Grandont et al., 2014). Detailed comparison of meiosis in near isogenic allohaploid and euploid plants showed that the mechanism(s) promoting efficient chromosome sorting in euploids is adjusted to promote crossover formation between homoeologs in allohaploids. This suggests that chromosome sorting is context dependent in B. napus.

Figure 2 : Homologous and homoeologous chromosomes are successfully split apart during meiosis in B. napus (coll with N. Cuñado; Univ. Complutense Madrid)


How is meiotic recombination regulated in polyploid (crop) species?

The improved and accelerated release of new crop varieties greatly relies on discovering how to increase CO frequencies, which contribute to DNA diversity by creating new combinations of parental alleles. In collaboration with AM Chevre’s group (IGEPP), we have shown that COs rate is slightly increased in Brassica digenomic tetraploid (AACC) hybrids and gets a boost in Brassica digenomic triploid AAC hybrids where recombination frequencies expand 4-fold as compared to that in the AA control (Leflon et al., 2010). This staggering increase of CO frequencies, which is primarily due to the addition of specific C chromosomes to AA backgrounds (Suay et al., 2014), ionly the removal of antiCO proteins has yielded a comparable number of extra CO in A. thaliana (Crismani et al., 2012 ; Girard et al., 2015 ; Seguela et al., 2015).

Figure 3 : Recombination is increased in allotriploid hybrids



Selected Publications :

Grandont, L., Cunado, N., Coriton, O., Huteau, V., Eber, F., Chevre, A.M., Grelon, M., Chelysheva, L. and Jenczewski, E. (2014) Homoeologous Chromosome Sorting and Progression of Meiotic Recombination in Brassica napus: Ploidy Does Matter! The Plant cell, 26, 1448-1463 (Abstract)

Grandont, L., Jenczewski, E. and Lloyd, A. (2013) Meiosis and its deviations in polyploid plants. Cytogenetic and genome research, 140, 171-184.

Lloyd, A.H., Ranoux, M., Vautrin, S., Glover, N., Fourment, J., Charif, D., Choulet, F., Lassalle, G., Marande, W., Tran, J., Granier, F., Pingault, L., Remay, A., Marquis, C., Belcram, H., Chalhoub, B., Feuillet, C., Berges, H., Sourdille, P. and Jenczewski, E. (2014) Meiotic gene evolution: can you teach a new dog new tricks? Mol Biol Evol, 31, 1724-1727 (PubMed)

Jenczewski, E. (2013) Evolution: he who grabs too much loses all. Curr Biol, 23, R961-963 (pdf)

Nicolas, S.D., Monod, H., Eber, F., Chevre, A.M. and Jenczewski, E. (2012) Non-random distribution of extensive chromosome rearrangements in Brassica napus depends on genome organization. Plant J, 70, 691-703 ( pdf)

M. Cifuentes, F. Eber, M.O. Lucas, M. Lode, AM Chèvre and E. Jenczewski (2010) Repeated polyploidy drove different levels of crossover suppression between homeologous chromosomes in Brassica napus allohaploids. The Plant Cell 22: 2265-2276 (pdf)

M. Leflon, Grandont, F. Eber, V. Huteau, O. Coriton, L. Chelysheva, Jenczewski E and AM Chèvre (2010) Crossovers get a boost in Brassica allotriploid and allotetraploid hybrids The Plant Cell 22: 2253-2264 (Full text)

M. Cifuentes, L. Grandont, G. Moore, AM Chèvre and Eric Jenczewski (2010) Genetic regulation of meiosis in polyploid species: new insights into an old question. The New Phytologist 186(1):29-36

E. Szadkowski, F. Eber, V. Huteau, O. Coriton, M. Manzanares-Dauleux, R. Delourme, C. Huneau, B. Chalhoub, E. Jenczewski and AM. Chèvre (2010) The first meiosis in newly synthesized Brassica napus: a genome blender? The New Phytologist 186(1):102-112

S. Nicolas, M. Leflon, H. Monod, F. Eber, O. Coriton, V. Huteau, A.-M. Chèvre et E. Jenczewski (2009) Genetic regulation of meiotic crossovers between related genomes in Brassica napus haploids and hybrids. The Plant Cell 21: 373-385

Pouilly N., R. Delourme, K. Alix and E. Jenczewski (2008) Repetitive sequence-derived markers tag centromeres and telomeres and provide insights into chromosome evolution in Brassica napus. Chromosome Research 16: 686-700.

S. Nicolas, G. LeMignon, F. Eber, O. Coriton, H. Monod, V. Clouet, V. Huteau, A. Lostanlen, R. Delourme, B. Chalhoub, C. D. Ryder, A.-M. Chèvre et E. Jenczewski (2007) Homeologous recombination is responsible for most of the rearrangements that occur during meiosis of Brassica napus haploids. Genetics. 175: 487-503

Z. Liu, K. Adamczyk, M. Manzanares-Dauleux, F. Eber, M.-O. Lucas, R. Delourme, A.-M. Chèvre et E. Jenczewski (2006) Mapping PrBn and Other Quantitative Trait Loci Responsible for the Control of Homoeologous Chromosome Pairing in Oilseed Rape (Brassica napus L.) Haploids. Genetics. 174(3):1583-96

W. Albertin, P. Brabant, O. Catrive, F. Eber, E. Jenczewski, A.M. Chèvre et H. Thiellement (2005) Autopolyploidy in cabbage (Brassica oleracea L.) does not alter significantly the proteomes of green tissues. Proteomics 5: 2131-2139

E. Jenczewski et K. Alix. (2004) From diploids to allopolyploids: the emergence of pairing control genes. Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences 23(1): 21-45

E. Jenczewski, F. Eber, A. Grimaud, S. Huet, M.O. Lucas, H. Monod et A.M. Chèvre (2003) PrBn: a major gene controlling homoeologous pairing in oilseed rape (Brassica napus) dihaploids. Genetics 164: 645-654.


Further Readings: Research group Meiosis and recombination





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