Desiccation-induced changes in recombination rate and crossover interference in Drosophila melanogaster: evidence for fitness-dependent plasticity

Dau Dayal Aggarwal, Sviatoslav Rybnikov, Irit Cohen, Zeev Frenkel, Eugenia Rashkovetsky, Pawel Michalak, Abraham B. Korol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Meiotic recombination is evolutionarily ambiguous, as being associated with both benefits and costs to its bearers, with the resultant dependent on a variety of conditions. While existing theoretical models explain the emergence and maintenance of recombination, some of its essential features remain underexplored. Here we focus on one such feature, recombination plasticity, and test whether recombination response to stress is fitness-dependent. We compare desiccation stress effects on recombination rate and crossover interference in chromosome 3 between desiccation-sensitive and desiccation-tolerant Drosophila lines. We show that relative to desiccation-tolerant genotypes, desiccation-sensitive genotypes exhibit a significant segment-specific increase in single- and double-crossover frequencies across the pericentromeric region of chromosome 3. Significant changes (relaxation) in crossover interference were found for the interval pairs flanking the centromere and extending to the left arm of the chromosome. These results indicate that desiccation is a recombinogenic factor and that desiccation-induced changes in both recombination rate and crossover interference are fitness-dependent, with a tendency of less fitted individuals to produce more variable progeny. Such dependence may play an important role in the regulation of genetic variation in populations experiencing environmental challenges.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-302
Number of pages12
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 15 Aug 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, Springer Nature Switzerland AG.


  • Crossover interference
  • Desiccation
  • Drosophila melanogaster
  • Fitness dependence
  • Plasticity
  • Recombination rate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science
  • Insect Science


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