During meiosis, crossover events generate new allelic combinations, yet the abundance of these genetic exchanges in individual cells has not been measured previously on a genomic level. To perform a genome-wide analysis of recombination, we monitored the assortment of genetic markers in meiotic tetrads from Arabidopsis. By determining the number and distribution of crossovers in individual meiotic cells, we demonstrated (i) surprisingly precise regulation of crossover number in each meiosis, (ii) considerably reduced recombination along chromosomes carrying ribosomal DNA arrays, and (iii) an inversely proportional relationship between recombination frequencies and chromosome size. This use of tetrad analysis also achieved precise mapping of all five Arabidopsis centromeres, localizing centromere functions in the intact chromosomes of a higher eukaryote
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