The development of congenic mouse strains is the principal approach for confirming and fine mapping quantitative trait loci, as well as for comparing the phenotypic effect of a transgene or gene-targeted disruption between different inbred mouse strains. The traditional breeding scheme calls for at least nine consecutive backcrosses before establishing a congenic mouse strain. Recent availability of genome sequence and high-throughput genotyping now permit the use of polymorphic DNA markers to reduce this number of backcrosses, and empirical data suggest that marker-assisted breeding may require as few as four backcrosses. We used simulation studies to investigate the efficiency of different marker-assisted breeding schemes by examining the trade-off between the number of backcrosses, the number of mice produced per generation, and the number of genotypes per mouse required to achieve a quality congenic mouse strain. An established model of crossover interference was also incorporated into these simulations. The quality of the strain produced was assessed by the probability of an undetected region of heterozygosity (i.e., “gaps”) in the recipient genetic background, while maintaining the desired donor-derived interval. Somewhat surprisingly, we found that there is a relatively high probability for undetected gaps in potential breeders for establishing a congenic mouse strain. Marker-assisted breeding may decrease the number of backcross generations required to generate a congenic strain, but only additional backcrossing will guarantee a reduction in the number and length of undetected gaps harboring contaminating donor alleles.
Mammalian Genome – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 4, 2006
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