[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Genetic reference populations in model organisms are critical resources for systems genetic analysis of disease related phenotypes. The breeding history of these inbred panels may influence detectable allelic and phenotypic diversity. The existing panel of common inbred strains reflects historical selection biases, and existing recombinant inbred panels have low allelic diversity. All such populations may be subject to consequences of inbreeding depression. The Collaborative Cross (CC) is a mouse reference population with high allelic diversity that is being constructed using a randomized breeding design that systematically outcrosses eight founder strains, followed by inbreeding to obtain new recombinant inbred strains. Five of the eight founders are common laboratory strains, and three are wild-derived. Since its inception, the partially inbred CC has been characterized for physiological, morphological, and behavioral traits. The construction of this population provided a unique opportunity to observe phenotypic variation as new allelic combinations arose through intercrossing and inbreeding to create new stable genetic combinations. Processes including inbreeding depression and its impact on allelic and phenotypic diversity were assessed. Phenotypic variation in the CC breeding population exceeds that of existing mouse genetic reference populations due to both high founder genetic diversity and novel epistatic combinations. However, some focal evidence of allele purging was detected including a suggestive QTL for litter size in a location of changing allele frequency. Despite these inescapable pressures, high diversity and precision for genetic mapping remain. These results demonstrate the potential of the CC population once completed and highlight implications for development of related populations.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Collaborative Cross (CC) is a mouse recombinant inbred strain panel that is being developed as a resource for mammalian systems genetics. Here we describe an experiment that uses partially inbred CC lines to evaluate the genetic properties and utility of this emerging resource. Genome-wide analysis of the incipient strains reveals high genetic diversity, balanced allele frequencies, and dense, evenly distributed recombination sites-all ideal qualities for a systems genetics resource. We map discrete, complex, and biomolecular traits and contrast two quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping approaches. Analysis based on inferred haplotypes improves power, reduces false discovery, and provides information to identify and prioritize candidate genes that is unique to multifounder crosses like the CC. The number of expression QTLs discovered here exceeds all previous efforts at eQTL mapping in mice, and we map local eQTL at 1-Mb resolution. We demonstrate that the genetic diversity of the CC, which derives from random mixing of eight founder strains, results in high phenotypic diversity and enhances our ability to map causative loci underlying complex disease-related traits.