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Unleashing Meiotic Crossovers in Crops

Meiotic crossovers shuffle chromosomes to produce unique combinations of alleles that are transmitted to offspring, generating genetic diversity on which natural or human selection can act. However, meiotic crossovers are relatively rare, typically one to three per chromosome, limiting the efficiency of the breeding process and related activities such as genetic mapping. Several genes that limit meiotic recombination were identified which has several mechanisms that actively antagonize CO formation in parallel i.e., FANCM, RECQ4 and FIGL1. Disrupting these anti-CO factors provokes a large increase in CO frequency without affecting meiotic progression. Plant breeding relies on meiotic crossovers to combine favourable alleles into elite varieties which occurs during meiosis, a specialized cell division.