, Volume 18, Issue 8, pp 549-558
Date: 09 Sep 2007

Genetic variation in C57BL/6 ES cell lines and genetic instability in the Bruce4 C57BL/6 ES cell line

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Genetically modified mouse strains derived from embryonic stem (ES) cells are powerful tools for gene function analysis. ES cells from the C57BL/6 mouse strain are not widely used to generate mouse models despite the advantage of a defined genetic background. We assessed genetic variation in six such ES cell lines with 275 SSLP markers. Compared to C57BL/6, Bruce4 differed at 34 SSLP markers and had significant heterozygosity on three chromosomes. BL/6#3 and Dale1 ES cell lines differed at only 3 SSLP makers. The C2 and WB6d ES cell lines differed at 6 SSLP markers. It is important to compare the efficiency of producing mouse models with available C57BL/6 ES cells relative to standard 129 mouse strain ES cells. We assessed genetic stability (the tendency of cells to become aneuploid) in 110 gene-targeted ES cell clones from the most widely used C57BL/6 ES cell line, Bruce4, and 710 targeted 129 ES cell clones. Bruce4 clones were more likely to be aneuploid and unsuitable for ES cell-mouse chimera production. Despite their tendency to aneuploidy and consequent inefficiency, use of Bruce4 ES cells can be valuable for models requiring behavioral studies and other mouse models that benefit from a defined C57BL/6 background.