Deciphering the historical recombination landscape of a migratory songbird, the Eurasian blackcap
Meiotic recombination involves the exchange of genetic information between parental chromosomes generating new combinations of alleles in the offspring. Recombination is a crucial determinant for reproductive success, proper chromosomal segregation, genetic variability, adaptation rates, and influencing the efficacy of selection. The historical recombination landscape comprises all recombination events captured in DNA sequences among individuals over many
generations. Recombination involves different molecular mechanisms and recombining events are not spread randomly across the genome. The placement of recombination events in most mammals is defined by the protein PRDM9, a key player in the initiation of recombination dynamics.
However, some organismal groups, such as birds, have lost this protein enabling them with unique recombining properties and conferring an apparent stasis in the positioning of recombination events. However, recent studies in species lacking PRDM9 demonstrated that recombination rates differ widely across the genome and between species. The variation in recombination rates, its causes, and its impact on evolutionary and behavioural processes remain poorly understood, particularly in natural bird populations. This thesis evaluates the variation of the historical recombination landscape in the Eurasian blackcap, Sylvia atricapilla, and the interplay of recombination rate variation with specific genomic and epigenetic features at different scales: across the genome, at
inter- and intraspecific levels.
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