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Keywords:

  • chiasmata;
  • genome size;
  • interference;
  • recombination

Abstract

Despite dramatic differences in genome size – and thus space for recombination to occur – previous workers found no correlation between recombination rate and genome size in flowering plants. Here I re-investigate these claims using phylogenetic comparative methods to test a large data set of recombination data in angiosperms. I show that genome size is significantly correlated with recombination rate across a wide sampling of species and that change in genome size explains a meaningful proportion (∼20%) of variation in recombination rate. I show that the strength of this correlation is comparable with that of several characters previously linked to evolutionary change in recombination rate, but argue that consideration of processes of genome size change likely make the observed correlation a conservative estimate. And finally, although I find that recombination rate increases less than proportionally to change in genome size, several mechanistic and theoretical arguments suggest that this result is not unexpected.