Identification of a cryptic lethal mutation in the mouse t(w73) haplotype.

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Genet Res 2004 Dec; 84(3):153-9.


t haplotypes are naturally occurring, variant forms of the t complex on mouse chromosome 17, characterized by the presence of four inversions with respect to wild-type. They harbour mutations causing male sterility, male transmission ratio distortion (TRD) and embryonic lethality. Mice carrying t haplotypes have been found throughout the world, and genetic studies of the lethal mutations have identified at least 16 complementation groups. The embryonic lethal phenotypes of many t haplotypes have been characterized in detail, and are thought to be the consequence of homozygosity for single gene mutations. However, the existence of additional mutations in genes that function at later stages of development would be obscured. Here we investigated the possibility of multiple mutations in t haplotypes by screening the t(w73) haplotype for the presence of novel mutations. Since genetic analysis of t haplotype mutations is hindered by recombination suppression due to the inversions, deletion complexes covering the proximal two-thirds of the t complex were used to uncover the presence of any new lethal alleles. This analysis revealed a novel mutation between D17Jcs41 and D17Mit100, causing mice carrying both t(w73) and selected deletions to die at birth, prior to feeding. The finding of a new, cryptic lethal mutation in t haplotypes is an indication that these recombinationally isolated chromosomes, which already contain at least one lethal mutation that prevents homozygosity, may serve as sinks for the accumulation of additional recessive mutations.

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