International Mammalian Genome Society

The 15th International Mouse Genome Conference (2001)


Dr. Daniel Pomp
Associate Professor
Department of Animal Science
University of Nebraska
Lincoln, NE  68583-0908  USA

Body weight and fatness are complex traits controlled by relatively equal contributions of polygenic and environmental influences. Many experimental paradigms have been used to understand the quantitative genetic and genomic natures of such polygenic characters. Long-term selective breeding is a powerful approach to concentrate allelic variants explaining significant variation for quantitative traits. The M16 line was selected 27 generations for rapid 3-6 wk weight gain (Gene Eisen, NCSU), while the MH/ ML lines were selected 16 generations for high/low heat loss using direct calorimetry (Merlyn Nielsen, UNL). Marker genotyping identified many regions harboring putative polygenes regulating several relevant phenotypes in these lines. Fine mapping of QTL is progressing using a combination of congenic and advanced intercross lines. Gene expression analysis using ddPCR and microarrays is defining correlated responses to selection in the transcriptome, while a parallel approach evaluates the proteome. Given that transcriptional and proteomic alterations may themselves represent complex, polygenic sub-phenotypes, analyses are carried over into genotyped resource populations. These efforts are combined with detailed physiological phenotyping in an integrated approach to polygene discovery. This paradigm will facilitate correlation of predisposition (QTL) genes with those regulating key physiological events controlling body weight and fatness, and will enable a better understanding of the overall genetic architecture of complex traits.

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