When females of the DDK inbred mouse strain are mated to males of other strains, 90–100% of the resulting embryos die during early embryonic development. This DDK syndrome lethality results from incompatibility between an ooplasmic DDK factor and a non-DDK paternal gene, which map to closely linked loci on chromosome 11. It has been proposed that the expression of the gene that encodes the ooplasmic factor is subject to allelic exclusion in oocytes. Previous studies have demonstrated the existence of recessive modifiers that increase lethality in the C57BL/6 and BALB/c strains. These modifiers are thought to skew the choice of allele undergoing allelic exclusion in the oocytes of heterozygous females. In the present study, we demonstrate the presence of modifiers in three Mus musculus domesticus wild-derived strains, PERA, PERC, and RBA. These modifiers completely rescued DDK syndrome lethality. We mapped the major locus that is responsible for rescue in PERA and PERC crosses to proximal chromosome 13 and named this locus Rmod1 (Rescue Modifier of the DDK Syndrome 1). Our experiments demonstrate that PERA or PERC alleles at Rmod1 rescue lethality independently of allelic exclusion. In addition, rescue of the lethal phenotype depends on the parental origin of the Rmod1 alleles; transmission through the dam leads to rescue, while transmission through the sire has no effect.
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Vol. 76 • No. 2