The heavy selection pressure due to intensive breeding of Brassica napus has created a narrow gene pool, limiting the ability to produce improved varieties through crosses between B. napus cultivars. One mechanism that has contributed to the adaptation of important agronomic traits in the allotetraploid B. napus has been chromosomal rearrangements resulting from homoeologous recombination between the constituent A and C diploid genomes. Determining the rate and distribution of such events in natural B. napus will assist efforts to understand and potentially manipulate this phenomenon. The Brassica high-density 60K SNP array, which provides genome-wide coverage for assessment of recombination events, was used to assay 254 individuals derived from 11 diverse cultivated spring type B. napus. These analyses identified reciprocal allele gain and loss between the A and C genomes and allowed visualization of de novo homoeologous recombination events across the B. napus genome. The events ranged from loss/gain of 0.09 Mb to entire chromosomes, with almost 5% aneuploidy observed across all gametes. There was a bias towards sub-telomeric exchanges leading to genome homogenisation at chromosome termini. The A genome replaced the C genome in 66% of events, and also featured more dominantly in gain of whole chromosomes. These analyses indicate de novo homoeologous recombination is a continuous source of variation in established Brassica napus and the rate of observed events appears to vary with genetic background. The Brassica 60K SNP array will be a useful tool in further study and manipulation of this phenomenon.
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