Genomic imprinting effects on adult body composition in mice

James M. Cheverud, Reinmar Hager, Charles Roseman, Gloria Fawcett, Bing Wang, Jason B. Wolf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Genomic imprinting results in the differential expression of genes, depending on which allele is inherited from the mother and which from the father. The effects of such differential gene expression are reflected in phenotypic differences between the reciprocal heterozygotes (Aa vs. aA). Although many imprinted genes have been identified and play a key role in development, little is known about the contribution of imprinting to quantitative variation in trait expression. Here, we examine this problem by mapping imprinting effects on adult body composition traits in the F3 generation of an intercross between the Large (LG/J) and Small (SM/J) inbred mouse strains. We identified eight pleiotropic imprinted quantitative trait loci (iQTL) located throughout the genome. Most iQTL are in novel locations that have not previously been associated with imprinting effects, but those on chromosomes 7, 12, and centromeric 18 lie in regions previously identified as containing imprinted genes. Our results show that the effects of genomic imprinting are relatively small, with reciprocal heterozygotes differing by ≈0.25 standard deviation units and the effects at each locus accounting for 1% to 4% of the phenotypic variance. We detected a variety of imprinting patterns, with paternal expression being the most common. These results indicate that genomic imprinting has small, but detectable, effects on the normal variation of complex traits in adults and is likely to be more common than usually thought.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4253-4258
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number11
StatePublished - Mar 18 2008


  • Epigenetics
  • Mouse
  • Obesity
  • Organs
  • Quantitative trait loci

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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