Male Infertility Is Responsible for Nearly Half of the Extinction Observed in the Mouse Collaborative Cross.

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Genetics 2017 Jun; 206(2):557-72.





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The goal of the Collaborative Cross (CC) project was to generate and distribute over 1000 independent mouse recombinant inbred strains derived from eight inbred founders. With inbreeding nearly complete, we estimated the extinction rate among CC lines at a remarkable 95%, which is substantially higher than in the derivation of other mouse recombinant inbred populations. Here, we report genome-wide allele frequencies in 347 extinct CC lines. Contrary to expectations, autosomes had equal allelic contributions from the eight founders, but chromosome X had significantly lower allelic contributions from the two inbred founders with underrepresented subspecific origins (PWK/PhJ and CAST/EiJ). By comparing extinct CC lines to living CC strains, we conclude that a complex genetic architecture is driving extinction, and selection pressures are different on the autosomes and chromosome X Male infertility played a large role in extinction as 47% of extinct lines had males that were infertile. Males from extinct lines had high variability in reproductive organ size, low sperm counts, low sperm motility, and a high rate of vacuolization of seminiferous tubules. We performed QTL mapping and identified nine genomic regions associated with male fertility and reproductive phenotypes. Many of the allelic effects in the QTL were driven by the two founders with underrepresented subspecific origins, including a QTL on chromosome X for infertility that was driven by the PWK/PhJ haplotype. We also performed the first example of cross validation using complementary CC resources to verify the effect of sperm curvilinear velocity from the PWK/PhJ haplotype on chromosome 2 in an independent population across multiple generations. While selection typically constrains the examination of reproductive traits toward the more fertile alleles, the CC extinct lines provided a unique opportunity to study the genetic architecture of fertility in a widely genetically variable population. We hypothesize that incompatibilities between alleles with different subspecific origins is a key driver of infertility. These results help clarify the factors that drove strain extinction in the CC, reveal the genetic regions associated with poor fertility in the CC, and serve as a resource to further study mammalian infertility. Genetics 2017 Jun; 206(2):557-72.