A high-speed congenic strategy using first-wave male germ cells

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Background: In laboratory mice and rats, congenic breeding is essential for analyzing the genes of interest on specific genetic backgrounds and for analyzing quantitative trait loci. However, in theory it takes about 3-4 years to achieve a strain carrying about 99% of the recipient genome at the tenth backcrossing (N10). Even with marker-assisted selection, the so-called 'speed congenic strategy', it takes more than a year at N4 or N5. Methodology/Principal Findings: Here we describe a new high-speed congenic system using round spermatids retrieved from immature males (22-25 days of age). We applied the technique to three genetically modified strains of mice: transgenic (TG), knockin (KI) and N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea (ENU)-induced mutants. The donor mice had mixed genetic backgrounds of C57BL/6 (B6):DBA/2 or B6:129 strains. At each generation, males used for backcrossing were selected based on polymorphic marker analysis and their round spermatids were injected into B6 strain oocytes. Backcrossing was repeated until N4 or N5. For the TG and ENU-mutant strains, the N5 generation was achieved on days 188 and 190 and the proportion of B6-homozygous loci was 100% (74 markers) and 97.7% (172/176 markers), respectively. For the KI strain, N4 was achieved on day 151, all the 86 markers being B6-homozygous as early as on day 106 at N3. The carrier males at the final generation were all fertile and propagated the modified genes. Thus, three congenic strains were established through rapid generation turnover between 41 and 44 days. Conclusions/Significance: This new high-speed breeding strategy enables us to produce congenic strains within about half a year. It should provide the fastest protocol for precise definition of the phenotypic effects of genes of interest on desired genetic backgrounds. © 2009 Ogonuki et al.




Ogonuki, N., Inoue, K., Hirose, M., Miura, I., Mochida, K., Sato, T., … Ogura, A. (2009). A high-speed congenic strategy using first-wave male germ cells. PLoS ONE, 4(3). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0004943

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