It is known for the high incidence of spontaneous testicular teratomas, though the incidence differs between substrains, but more recently it has been the most widely used strain in the production of targeted mutations due to the availability of several lines of embryonic stem cells. Two recent studies show that there is major genetic variation within the 129 "family", at least some of which must be attributed to genetic contamination (Threadgill et al, 1997,Simpson et al, 1997). Strain 129/SvJ was genetically contaminated in about 1978 by an unknown strain, and differs from other 129 substrains at about 25% of SSLP genetic markers. Threadgill et al suggest that it is equivalent to a recombinant congenic strain and suggest that it is designated 129cX/Sv. Simpson et al recognised three major groups of substrains: parental substrains, steel substrains and "ter" substrains. Threadgill et al identified substrains 129/Ola, 129/J, 129/Sv, 129/ReJ and 129/RrRk, and the associated embryonic stem cells.
Studies of 129 genealogy and genetics have resulted in major nomenclature changes for 129 substrains. See Mouse Strain 129 Substrain Nomenclature.
Life-span and spontaneous disease
Long life-span in conventional conditions (18/22 = 679 days in males, 15/22 = 648 days in females) (Storer, 1966). Long life-span in SPF fostered conditions (16/17 = 699 days in males, 11/1 7 = 666 days in females) (Festing and Blackmore, 1971). Low overall tumour incidence (7% in males, 21% in females), including lymphoma 2% in males and 7% in females, soft tissue sarcomas 2% in males and 1% in females and benign tumours 2% in males and 3% in females (Smith et al., 1973., 1973). Lung tumours 4-46% (Festing and Blackmore, 1971). Testicular teratomas about 1% in most substrains, but 30% in the terSv substrain (Stevens, 1973). Incidence of teratomas increased in p53-deficient mice (Harvey et al, 1993). The Ter gene has been mapped to chromosome 18 (Asada et al, 1994). Congenital malformations about 4% in RrSvKt-jt substrain (Kalter, 1968). High incidence of urinary calculi (Russell and Meier, 1966).
Normal physiology and biochemistry
High plasma cholesterol at 12 and 24 weeks (2/8) (Weibust, 1973). Low plasma triglyceride levels (2/11) (Jiao et al 1990). High Na/K ratio in erythrocytes (1/9) and plasma (4/9) (Waymouth, 1973). High serum ceruloplasmin levels in males (3/26) but low levels in females (24/27) (Meier and MacPike, 1968). High plasma cholinesterase activity (3/22 in males, 8/22 in females) (Angel et al., 1967., 1967). Low mean heart rate (7/7) but high mean heart adaptation rate (2/7) (Blizard and Welty, 1971). High cell turnover in J substrain as estimated by rapid clearance of DNA-bound radioactivity (3/17) (Heiniger et al., 1972., 1972). Venous blood has a high pH (1/10) (Bernstein, 1966). High hepatic microsomal coumarin hydroxylase activity in females (2/8) (Van Iersel et al, 1994). High levels of apoA-IV messenger RNA in liver compared with C57BL/6 (Reue et al, 1993).
Has defective secretory group II phospholipase A2 gene (cf strains C57BL/6 and B10.RIII) (Kennedy et al, 1995).
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