Long-term responses, changes in genetic variances and inbreeding depression from 122 generations of selection on increased litter size in mice

J Anim Breed Genet. 2005 Jun;122(3):199-209. doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0388.2005.00526.x.


Data on mice selected for litter size over 122 generations have been analysed in order to reveal the effect of long-term selection on responses and changes in variances over a long selection period. Originally, three lines were established from the same base population, namely an H line selected for large litter size, an L line selected for small litter size and a K line without selection. In generation 122, the mean number of pups born alive (NBA) was 22 for the H line and 11 for the K line. Phenotypic response to selection is reduced over generations, but crossing of plateaued lines increased responses and realized heritabilities. Both realized heritabilities and heritabilities from residual maximal likelihood (REML) analyses were, in general, calculated from generation (-1)-44 (period 1), 45-70 (period 2) and 71-122 (period 3) separately. Realized heritabilities were in general smaller than heritabilities estimated from mixed model analysis. An overall estimate of heritability for NBA was found to be 0.19 (+/- 0.01) by REML analysis. Additive variance is constant over all periods in the high line and the control line, but is reduced over periods in the low line. The reduction of additive variance in the low line could probably be explained by changes in gene frequencies. In all lines, environmental variances increased over periods. Inbreeding reduced the mean litter size by 0.72 (+/- 0.10) pups per 10% increase in inbreeding, with substantial variance between periods and lines.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Inbreeding*
  • Litter Size / genetics*
  • Mice / genetics*
  • Selection, Genetic*