Molecular Genetics of the Brown (B)-Locus Region of Mouse Chromosome 4. II. Complementation Analyses of Lethal Brown Deletions


Numerous new mutations at the brown (b) locus in mouse chromosome 4 have been recovered over the years in germ-cell mutagenesis experiments performed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. A large series of radiation- and chemical-induced b mutations known to be chromosomal deletions, and also known to be prenatally lethal when homozygous, were analyzed by pairwise complementation crosses as well as by pseudodominance tests involving flanking loci defined by externally visible phenotypes. These crosses were designed to determine the extent of each deletion on the genetic and phenotype map of the chromosomal region surrounding the b locus; the crosses also provided basic data that assigned deletions to complementation groups and defined four new loci associated with aberrancies in normal development. Specifically, the pseudodominance tests identified deletions that include the proximally mapping whirler (wi) and the distally mapping depilated (dep) genes, thereby bracketing these loci defined by visible developmental abnormalities with landmarks (deletion breakpoints) that are easily identified on the physical map. Furthermore, the complementation crosses, which were supplemented with additional crosses that allowed determination of the gross time of lethality of selected deletions, defined four new loci required for normal development. Homozygous deletion of one of these loci (b-associated fitness, baf) results in a runting syndrome evident during postnatal development; deletion of one locus [l(4)2Rn] causes death in the late gestation/neonatal period; and deletion of either of two loci [l(4)1Rn or l(4)3Rn] results in embryonic death, most likely in pre-, peri- or postimplantation stages. The placement of these new functionally defined loci on the evolving molecular map of the b region should be useful for continuing the analysis of the roles played in development by genes in this segment of chromosome 4.

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