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The control of body size in mouse chimaeras

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 April 2009

D. S. Falconer
Affiliation:
Agricultural Research Council Unit of Animal Genetics*
I. K. Gauld
Affiliation:
Agricultural Research Council Unit of Animal Genetics*
R. C. Roberts
Affiliation:
Agricultural Research Council Unit of Animal Genetics*
D. A. Williams
Affiliation:
Department of Statistics, University of Edinburgh

Summary

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Aggregation chimaeras were made from embryos of strains of mice selected for large and small body size and of unselected controls. The strains were combined in pairs marked by albino coat colour and by allo-zyme variants at the Gpi-1 locus. The proportion of cells derived from each component was scored visually in the coat melanocytes and by electrophoresis in ten other organs or tissues (blood, liver, lung, spleen, spinal cord, brain, pituitary, kidney, adrenal and testis). The object was to find out how body weight is related to cell proportions in the body as a whole and in the separate organs. Individuals varied widely in their mean cell proportions but there were significant differences between organs within individuals. Body weight was linearly related to the mean cell proportions which accounted for most, or possibly all, of the chimaeric variance of body weight. No one of the organs studied could be identified as being solely responsible for growth control, or as having a predominant influence on growth. The weights of some organs were probably influenced to a small extent by their own cell proportions independently of the individual's mean, but the differences of body weight were too great to be accounted for by the summation of localized effects on organs. The mean cell proportion, averaged over individuals, was close to 50%, proving that there was no tendency for cells from the larger component to outgrow those from the smaller. It is concluded that growth control must be systemic, but it was not possible to decide whether the systemic effect comes from some particular organ not studied, or is in some undefined way the consequence of the cell proportions in the body as a whole. There was some evidence, though it was inconclusive, that chimaeras show ‘heterosis’ for body weight.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1981

References

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