Recombination in the human Pseudoautosomal region PAR1.
Hinch AG., Altemose N., Noor N., Donnelly P., Myers SR.
The pseudoautosomal region (PAR) is a short region of homology between the mammalian X and Y chromosomes, which has undergone rapid evolution. A crossover in the PAR is essential for the proper disjunction of X and Y chromosomes in male meiosis, and PAR deletion results in male sterility. This leads the human PAR with the obligatory crossover, PAR1, to having an exceptionally high male crossover rate, which is 17-fold higher than the genome-wide average. However, the mechanism by which this obligatory crossover occurs remains unknown, as does the fine-scale positioning of crossovers across this region. Recent research in mice has suggested that crossovers in PAR may be mediated independently of the protein PRDM9, which localises virtually all crossovers in the autosomes. To investigate recombination in this region, we construct the most fine-scale genetic map containing directly observed crossovers to date using African-American pedigrees. We leverage recombination rates inferred from the breakdown of linkage disequilibrium in human populations and investigate the signatures of DNA evolution due to recombination. Further, we identify direct PRDM9 binding sites using ChIP-seq in human cells. Using these independent lines of evidence, we show that, in contrast with mouse, PRDM9 does localise peaks of recombination in the human PAR1. We find that recombination is a far more rapid and intense driver of sequence evolution in PAR1 than it is on the autosomes. We also show that PAR1 hotspot activities differ significantly among human populations. Finally, we find evidence that PAR1 hotspot positions have changed between human and chimpanzee, with no evidence of sharing among the hottest hotspots. We anticipate that the genetic maps built and validated in this work will aid research on this vital and fascinating region of the genome.