Open Access

Genetic variance and covariance patterns for body weight and energy balance characters in an advanced intercross population of mice

  • Larry J Leamy1Email author,
  • Kari Elo2, 4,
  • Merlyn K Nielsen2,
  • L Dale Van Vleck3 and
  • Daniel Pomp2
Genetics Selection Evolution200537:151

Received: 12 May 2004

Accepted: 9 July 2004

Published: 15 March 2005


We estimated heritabilities and genetic correlations for a suite of 15 characters in five functional groups in an advanced intercross population of over 2000 mice derived from a cross of inbred lines selected for high and low heat loss. Heritabilities averaged 0.56 for three body weights, 0.23 for two energy balance characters, 0.48 for three bone characters, 0.35 for four measures of adiposity, and 0.27 for three organ weights, all of which were generally consistent in magnitude with estimates derived in previous studies. Genetic correlations varied from -0.65 to +0.98, and were higher within these functional groups than between groups. These correlations generally conformed to a priori expectations, being positive in sign for energy expenditure and consumption (+0.24) and negative in sign for energy expenditure and adiposity (-0.17). The genetic correlations of adiposity with body weight at 3, 6, and 12 weeks of age (-0.29, -0.22, -0.26) all were negative in sign but not statistically significant. The independence of body weight and adiposity suggests that this advanced intercross population is ideal for a comprehensive discovery of genes controlling regulation of mammalian adiposity that are distinct from those for body weight.


advanced intercross mice body weight genetic correlations heritability obesity

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Authors’ Affiliations

Department of Biology, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Department of Animal Science, University of Nebraska
Roman L. Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, ARS, USDA
Department of Animal Science, University of Helsinki


© INRA, EDP Sciences 2005