Animal Science Department


Date of this Version



Published in J. Anim. Sci. 1994. 72:577-583. Copyright © 1994 American Society of Animal Science. Used by permission.


After 21 generations of selection for alternative criteria to change litter size in mice, responses in uterine capacity and ovulation rate were evaluated. Females from Generations 22 and 23 were sampled from 12 lines, representing three replicates of four selection criteria: LS = direct selection on litter size; M = selection on an index of ovulation rate and the proportion of ova shed that resulted in fully formed offspring; UT = selection on uterine capacity measured as litter size from females unilaterally ovariectomized at 4 wk of age; and LC = unselected control. All females in the present evaluation (a total of 1,932) were unilaterally ovariectomized (either left or right ovary excised) at 4 wk, mated at 9 wk, and killed at d 17 of gestation. The number of corpora lutea and number of fetuses were counted to measure ovulation rate and uterine capacity, respectively. Selection in IX, LS, and UT increased ( P < .01) ovulation rate from unilaterally ovariectomized females but by a greater amount ( P < .01) in IX and LS than in UT. Selection also increased (P < . O l ) uterine capacity of IX, LS, and UT (average response relative to LC = 1.76 pups); response was at least as great in LS and IX as in UT. Direct selection in UT was successful at improving uterine capacity but was no more effective than IX or LS selection. Cases in which ovulation rate limited expression of uterine capacity in UT may have shifted some selection emphasis to ovulation rate and reduced response in uterine capacity.