The role of recombination landscape in species hybridisation and speciation.
Wong ELY., Filatov DA.
It is now well recognised that closely related species can hybridize and exchange genetic material, which may promote or oppose adaptation and speciation. In some cases, interspecific hybridisation is very common, making it surprising that species identity is preserved despite active gene exchange. The genomes of most eukaryotic species are highly heterogeneous with regard to gene density, abundance of repetitive DNA, chromatin compactisation etc, which can make certain genomic regions more prone or more resistant to introgression of genetic material from other species. Heterogeneity in local recombination rate underpins many of the observed patterns across the genome (e.g. actively recombining regions are typically gene rich and depleted for repetitive DNA) and it can strongly affect the permeability of genomic regions to interspecific introgression. The larger the region lacking recombination, the higher the chance for the presence of species incompatibility gene(s) in that region, making the entire non- or rarely recombining block impermeable to interspecific introgression. Large plant genomes tend to have highly heterogeneous recombination landscape, with recombination frequently occurring at the ends of the chromosomes and central regions lacking recombination. In this paper we review the relationship between recombination and introgression in plants and argue that large rarely recombining regions likely play a major role in preserving species identity in actively hybridising plant species.