Letter | Published:

Rescue of a lethal T/t locus genotype by chimaerism with normal embryos

Naturevolume 272page539 (1978) | Download Citation



THE mutation THp at the T/t locus in the mouse is unique among mammalian genes because it has a sharply defined maternal effect. Like other known T/t locus dominant mutations, THp yields a short-tailed phenotype in heterozygotes of both sexes. However, THp/+ females when mated with wild type fail to give birth to short–tailed progeny; examination of embryos shows that heterozygous embryos die late in gestation with seemingly minor defects such as spina bifida and polydactyly1–3. The precise reason for death has not been determined, but must depend on some defect intrinsic to the egg, because THp/+ females successfully carry to term heterozygous embryos whose THp gene is paternally derived. I report here that lethal THp/+ maternal heterozygotes are readily rescued if they are aggregated with normal embryos, but that the germ cell defect persists, because the chimaeras fail, if female, to transmit THp to viable offspring.

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  1. 1

    Johnson, D. R. Genetics 76, 795–805 (1974).

  2. 2

    Johnson, D. R. Genet. Res. Camb. 24, 207–213 (1975).

  3. 3

    Bennett, D. Cell 6, 441–454 (1975).

  4. 4

    Mintz, B. J. exp. Zool. 157, 273–292 (1964).

  5. 5

    McLaren, A. Mammalian Chimaeras (Cambridge University Press, London, 1976).

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  1. Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research, New York, New York, 10021



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