The karyotypic evolution in the family Bovidae is based on centric fusions of ancestral acrocentric chromosomes. Here, the frequency and distribution of meiotic recombination was analyzed in pachytene spermatocytes from Bos taurus (2n = 60) and 3 wildebeest species (Connochaetes gnou, C. taurinus taurinus and C. t. albojubatus) (2n = 58) using immunofluorescence and fluorescence in situ hybridization. Significant differences in mean numbers of recombination events per cell were observed between B. taurus and members of the genus Connochaetes (47.2 vs. 43.7, p < 0.001). The number of MLH1 foci was significantly correlated with the length of the autosomal synaptonemal complexes. The average interfocus distance was influenced by interference. The male recombination maps of bovine chromosomes 2 and 25 and of their fused homologues in wildebeests were constructed. A significant reduction of recombination in the fused chromosome BTA25 was observed in wildebeests (p = 0.005). This was probably caused by interference acting across the centromere, which was significantly stronger than the intra-arm interference. This comparative meiotic study showed significant differences among the species from the family Bovidae with the same fundamental number of autosomal arms (FNa = 29) which differ by a single centric fusion.

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