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Genetics. 2001 Jan;157(1):341-8.

Genetic and developmental analysis of X-inactivation in interspecific hybrid mice suggests a role for the Y chromosome in placental dysplasia.

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Max-Planck-Institut für Molekulare Genetik, 14195 Berlin, Germany.


It has been shown previously that abnormal placental growth, i.e., hyper- and hypoplasia, occurs in crosses and backcrosses between different mouse (Mus) species. A locus that contributes to this abnormal development has been mapped to the X chromosome. Unexpectedly, an influence of fetal sex on placental development has been observed, in that placentas attached to male fetuses tended to exhibit a more pronounced phenotype than placentas attached to females. Here, we have analyzed this sex dependence in more detail. Our results show that differences between male and female placental weights are characteristic of interspecific matings and are not observed in intraspecific Mus musculus matings. The effect is retained in congenic lines that contain differing lengths of M. spretus-derived X chromosome. Expression of the X-linked gene Pgk1 from the maternal allele only and lack of overall activity of two paternally inherited X-linked transgenes indicate that reactivation or lack of inactivation of the paternal X chromosome in trophoblasts of interspecific hybrids is not a frequent occurrence. Thus, the difference between male and female placentas seems not to be caused by faulty preferential X-inactivation. Therefore, these data suggest that the sex difference of placental weights in interspecific hybrids is caused by interactions with the Y chromosome.

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