Mathematical Meiotic Models of Genome Analysis: Comparison With Molecular Approaches

  • J. Sybenga
Part of the Stadler Genetics Symposia Series book series (SGSS)


The analysis of the evolutionary distance between genomes is one of the justifications of genome analysis based on molecular analysis and high resolution mapping. It is also the main objective of estimating affinity differences between genomes by mathematical meiotic models, based on the relative frequencies of diakinesis/metaphase I configurations in polyploid hybrids. Polyploid hybrids are preferred over diploid hybrids because they combine several genomes in the same meiotic cellular environment. The first stage of meiotic pairing, although DNA dependent, is indirect and less DNA specific than the second phase. This involves accurate DNA homology search, often leading to crossing-over and chiasmata. The combination of the two stages results in configurations that contain detailed information on evolutionary divergence at both the DNA level and in a more general biological sense. In polyploids these configurations include multivalents of various shapes. In order to interpret this information in terms of evolutionary distance, different mathematical models have been developed. These correspond in some essential respects, but differ in others. Their relative merits are discussed and it is indicated that some frequently adopted simplifications are not acceptable. Certain autopolyploids suggest considerable spurious divergence between identical genomes as a result of the properties of their meiotic pairing and chiasma system. It is advisable, therefore, not to draw conclusions from hybrids alone.

When this and other complicating factors, including variation in pairing and chiasma patterns, are taken into account, diakinesis and metaphase I configurations can give good information on genome differentiation. This includes differences in DNA sequence and gross structural homology as well as other forms of evolutionary divergence.


Synaptonemal Complex Chiasma Frequency Preferential Pairing Chiasma Formation Meiotic Pairing 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Sybenga
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeneticsWageningen Agricultural UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands

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