Biochemical Genetics

, Volume 18, Issue 9–10, pp 915–928 | Cite as

Genetic diversity in leukemia-prone feral house mice infected with murine leukemia virus

  • M. Catherine Rice
  • Murray B. Gardner
  • Stephen J. O'Brien


The Lake Casitas (LC) mouse population located in southwestern Ventura County in California is unusual insofar as 85% of these mice are persistently viremic with congenitally transmitted murine leukemia virus (MuLV). The virus has been identified as the etiological agent responsible for lymphoma and neuromotor paralysis in large numbers of the mice. The majority of other wild mouse populations are generally free of infectious MuLV despite the presence of endogenous cellular DNA sequences homologous to infectious virus isolated from wild mice. Electrophoretic variation in 46 gene-enzyme systems was surveyed using mice from Lake Casitas and from a virus-negative population located in Bouquet Canyon (BC) approximately 40 miles from Lake Casitas. The LC and BC populations are genetically very similar to each other and to feral mouse populations previously studied in California and Europe. In the LC populations 24% of the loci are polymorphic compared to 17% in the BC population. The average heterozygosities for the LC and BC populations are 0.094 and 0.073, respectively. The large amount of genic variation in LC fails to support the concept of the derivation of the colony from a small number of founders. Tests for linkage disequilibrium and/or selective association of viremia and polymorphism at 15 loci located on nine mouse chromosomes did not reveal any nonrandom assortments. The viremic LC population, then, appears indistinguishable within the limits of experimental resolution from the virus-negative BC population in its population genetic structure.

Key words

Allozyme polymorphism murine leukemia virus electrophoretic variants feral mice 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Catherine Rice
    • 1
  • Murray B. Gardner
    • 2
  • Stephen J. O'Brien
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Viral Carcinogenesis, National Cancer InstituteNational Institutes of HealthBethesda
  2. 2.Department of PathologyUniversity of Southern California School of MedicineLos Angeles

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