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Mamm Genome. 2009 Feb;20(2):83-91. doi: 10.1007/s00335-008-9164-3. Epub 2009 Jan 3.

Polymorphism in hybrid male sterility in wild-derived Mus musculus musculus strains on proximal chromosome 17.

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Department of Population Biology, Institute of Vertebrate Biology, Academy of Science of the Czech Republic, 675 02, Studenec 122, Czech Republic.


The hybrid sterility-1 (Hst1) locus at Chr 17 causes male sterility in crosses between the house mouse subspecies Mus musculus domesticus (Mmd) and M. m. musculus (Mmm). This locus has been defined by its polymorphic variants in two laboratory strains (Mmd genome) when mated to PWD/Ph mice (Mmm genome): C57BL/10 (carrying the sterile allele) and C3H (fertile allele). The occurrence of sterile and/or fertile (wild Mmm x C57BL)F1 males is evidence that polymorphism for this trait also exists in natural populations of Mmm; however, the nature of this polymorphism remains unclear. Therefore, we derived two wild-origin Mmm strains, STUS and STUF, that produce sterile and fertile males, respectively, in crosses with C57BL mice. To determine the genetic basis underlying male fertility, the (STUS x STUF)F1 females were mated to C57BL/10 J males. About one-third of resulting hybrid males (33.8%) had a significantly smaller epididymis and testes than parental animals and lacked spermatozoa due to meiotic arrest. A further one-fifth of males (20.3%) also had anomalous reproductive traits but produced some spermatozoa. The remaining fertile males (45.9%) displayed no deviation from values found in parental individuals. QTL analysis of the progeny revealed strong associations of male fitness components with the proximal end of Chr 17, and a significant effect of the central section of Chr X on testes mass. The data suggest that genetic incompatibilities associated with male sterility have evolved independently at the proximal end of Chr 17 and are polymorphic within both Mmd and Mmm genomes.

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