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Prenatal and postnatal correlated responses in maternal traits of mice assessed by crossfostering

, : Prenatal and postnatal correlated responses in maternal traits of mice assessed by crossfostering. Genetique, Selection, Evolution 18(2): 145-156

A crossfostering design was used to estimate correlated responses in prenatal genetic and postnatal maternal effects of maternal traits of mice (female body weights at mating, at parturition and at 12-d postpartum, litter size and weight at birth, percent born alive, standardized (12 pups) 12-d litter weight and birth to 12-d litter feed efficiency = litter weight gain/dam feed intake). Lines of mice had been selected as follows: large first-parity litter size at birth (L+); large 6-wk body weight (W+); an index for large litter size and small 6-wk body weight (L + W-) and randomly (K). Prenatal line refers to the line into which a female was born, and postnatal line is that of the foster mother than nursed the female. Crossfostering sets were formed at birth with equal numbers of pups from the 4 lines reared either in litters of 8 or 16. Dams reared in litter of 8 were heavier, had larger litters at birth and larger litter weights at birth and 12-d postpartum (P < 0.05). No biologically important interactions were found between number reared and prenatal genetic effects or between number reared and postnatal maternal effects. Selection for litter size at birth and (or) 6-wk body weight resulted in large correlated responses in maternal traits. Correlated responses in postnatal maternal effects were relatively small compared with prenatal genetic effects. Prenatal genetic by postnatal maternal interactions generally were not of biological importance. Postnatal maternal effects contributed much less to correlated responses in traits associated with reproduction and maternal performance compared with growth-related traits.


PMID: 22879239

DOI: 10.1186/1297-9686-18-2-145

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