Genetical Research

Research Article

Evidence for a major gene for rapid postweaning growth in mice

G. E. Bradforda1 and T. R. Famulaa1

a1 Animal Science Department, University of California, Davis, CA 95616


Mice gaining 3 or more standard deviations above the mean were noted beginning in generation 25 in a line selected for high 21–42 day weight gain. The exceptional growth rate appears to be due to an autosomal recessive gene, based on the following: (1) the exceptional individuals appeared suddenly, in only one of 2 closely related sublines; (2) mating high growth individuals to unrelated, normal size strains produces relatively uniform F1's with mean gains below the mid-parent average; (3) F2's have a distribution markedly skewed towards high gain and a coefficient of variation approximately double that of F1's; (4) true breeding high growth strains can be established in one generation by intermating the largest F2's; (5) intermating normal F2's produces progenies with a distribution similar to the F1 except for a few large segregates; (6) high growth segregates have been obtained in F2's from each of 4 successive backcrosses to the C57BL/6 inbred line. The symbol hg (high growth) is proposed for the postulated gene, which appears to be completely recessive. Frequency of positively identified segregates in F2's and backcrosses is on average less than 25 and 50%, due probably to some overlap of Hg- and hg hg distributions. Gain of hg hg individuals from 21–42 days is 30–50% higher than of Hg- contemporaries; mature weight is also much higher, while 21-day weight of hg hg individuals in segregating litters is slightly lower. Fertility of homozygotes ranges from normal to as much as 40% lower than for comparable Hg- mice; hg hg mice are not obese. The gene may provide a useful model for study of regulation of mammalian growth.

(Received December 19 1983)

(Revised June 19 1984)