Increased litter size and super-ovulation rate in congenic C57BL mice carrying a polymorphic fragment of NFR/N origin at the Fecq4 locus of chromosome 9

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  • Maria Liljander
  • Åsa Inga Maria Andersson
  • Rikard Holmdahl
  • Ragnar Mattsson
By analysing N2 mice from a cross between the inbred C57BL strain B10.Q and the NMRI-related NFR/N strain, we recently identified a quantitative trait locus (QTL) influencing litter size. This locus is now denoted Fecq4, and it is present on the murine chromosome 9. In the present paper, we describe how the Fecq4 fragment originating form the NFR/N mouse strain will affect B10.Q mice by means of breeding capacity, super-ovulation rate and embryonic development in vitro. Our results show that both the breeding capacity (number of pups produced/breeding cage during a 5 months period) and the mean litter size are significantly increased in B10.Q.NFR/N-Fecq4 congenic mice. Furthermore. B10.Q.NFR/N-Fecq4 congenic mice (both homozygous and heterozygous) did respond much better to super-ovulation than wild-type mice, resulting in a dramatically increased yield of fertilized 1-cell embryos. In addition, embryos containing the Fecq4 fragment were easy to cultivate in vitro, resulting in a higher yield of embryos reaching the blastocyst stage. We propose that B10.Q.NFR/N-Fecq4 congenic mice may be used to improve breeding or super-ovulation rate in different types of genetically modified mice (on C57BL background) that exhibit severe breeding problems. The Fecq4 fragment has been described in detail, and the possible role of polymorphic candidate genes near the linkage peak (58 Mb) has been discussed. Genes of the cytochrome P450 family (1, 11 and 19), such as Cyp19a1, are assumed to be particularly interesting, since they are known to exhibit female-associated reproductive phenotypes, affecting the ovulation rate, if mutated.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGenetics Research
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)259-65
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2009

ID: 14774577