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Genetics. 1978 Apr;88(4):781-811.

Single-trait and antagonistic index selection for litter size and body weight in mice.

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  • 1Department of Animal Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina 27650.


INDIVIDUAL SELECTION BASED ON FEMALE PERFORMANCE ONLY WAS CONDUCTED IN FOUR LINES OF MICE: L(+) for increased litter size, W(+) for increased 6-week body weight, L(-)W(+) for a selection index aimed at decreasing litter size and increasing 6-week body weight and L(+)W(-) for a selection index aimed at increasing litter size and decreasing 6-week body weight. A fifth line (K) served as an unselected control. All litters were standardized to eight mice at one day of age. Expected heritability was based on twice the regression of offspring on dam (h(2) (d)), which contains additive genetic variance due to direct (sigma(2) (A(o) )) and maternal (sigma(2) (A(m) )) effects and their covariance (sigma(A(o)A(m) )). Responses and correlated responses were measured either deviated (method 1) or not deviated (method 2) from the control line. Realized heritabilities (h(2) (R)) for litter size were 0.19 +/- 0.04 (1) and 0.16 +/- 0.03 (2), which were similar to h( 2) (d) of 0.17 +/- 0.04. The h(2) ( R) for 6-week body weight of 0.55 +/- 0.07 (1) and 0.44 +/- 0.07 (2) agreed with h(2) (d) of 0.42 +/- 0.02. Realized genetic correlations (r*(G(R) )) between litter size and 6-week body weight calculated from the double-selection experiment were 0.52 +/- 0.10 (1) and 0.52 +/- 0.13 (2), which were not significantly different from the base population estimate of r*( G(d) ) = 0.63 +/- 0.14. Divergence (L(-)W( +) minus L(+)W(-)) in the antagonistic index selection lines was 0.21 +/- 0.01 index units (I = 0.305 P(W) - 0.436 P(L), where P( W) and P(L) are the phenotypic values for 6-week body weight and litter size, respectively.). The h(2) ( R) of index units of 0.14 +/- 0.02 calculated from divergence agreed with h(2) (d) of 0.14 +/- 0.04. Divergences in litter size (-0.19 +/- 0.07) and 6-week body weight (0.46 +/- 0.10) were in the expected direction. Antagonistic index selection yielded about one-half the expected divergence in litter size, while divergence in 6-week body weight was only slightly less than expected. Realized genetic correlations indicated that litter size, 6-week body weight and index units each showed positive pleiotropy with 3-week body weight, postweaning gain and weight at vaginal introitus and negative pleiotropy with age at vaginal introitus. Sex ratio and several components of fitness (days from joining to parturition, percent fertile matings and percent perinatal survival) did not change significantly in the selected lines.

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