• Article

Transmission of mutations in the lacl transgene to the offspring of ENU-Treated big Blue (R) male mice

The purpose of the study was to determine: 1) if male germ cells of Big Blue(R) mice carrying newly induced mutations in the lacI transgene were effective in fertilization; 2) if offspring arising from such mutant sperm had the mutation in germ cells and multiple somatic tissues; and 3) how the frequency of mutants induced in the loci transgene compared to the frequency induced in endogenous genes traditionally employed to study germ cell mutagenesis in mice. Male B6C3F(1) mice hemizygous for the lambda/lacI transgene were treated weekly with 100 mg/kg body weight of the mammalian germ cell mutagen N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea (ENU). The cumulative dose for each treated animal was 300 mg ENU/kg body weight. Ten weeks later the treated mice were mated to T stock females and the resulting offspring were screened for specific-locus mutations at six loci affecting external appearance, as well as for mutations in the loci transgene in multiple somatic tissues and germ cells. Five offspring carrying recessive specific-locus mutations were observed among 597 offspring screened (mutant frequency = 139.6 x per locus). Four offspring carrying lacI mutations were observed among 280 offspring screened (mutant frequency = 35.7 x 10(-5) per locus (assuming 40 target loci)). Each of the four lacI mutant offspring carried a different mutation. Three of the mutations were A:T-->G:C transitions and one a G:C -->A:T transition. Consistent with the expectation that a mutation induced in a parental germ cell and transmitted to a conceptus would exist in every cell of the offspring, each mutant mouse had identical mutations in all somatic tissues sampled, as well as in its germ cells. These data provide preliminary evidence for the biological validity of assessing induced, heritable mutations using transgenic mice, without the need for generating an F-1 generation


Barnett, L., Tyl, R., Shane, BS., Shelby, MD., & Lewis, S. (2002). Transmission of mutations in the lacl transgene to the offspring of ENU-Treated big Blue (R) male mice. Environmental and Molecular Mutagenesis, 40(4), 251-257.