Mutation frequency declines during spermatogenesis in young mice but increases in old mice

Christi A. Walter, Gabriel W. Intano, John R. McCarrey, C. Alex McMahan, Ronald B. Walter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Scopus citations


Five percent of live-born human offspring will have a genetic disorder. Of these, 20% are because of germ-line de novo mutations. Several genetic diseases, such as neurofibromatosis and Duchenne muscular dystrophy, are associated with a high percentage of de novo germ-line mutations. Until recently, a direct analysis of spontaneous mutation frequencies in mammalian germ cells has been prevented by technical limitations. We have measured spontaneous mutation frequencies in a lacI transgene by using enriched populations of specific spermatogenic cell types. Similar to previously published results, we observed a lower mutation frequency for seminiferous tubule cell preparations, which contain all stages of spermatogenesis, relative to somatic tissues. We made the unexpected observation of a decline in mutation frequency during spermatogenesis, such that the mutation frequencies of type B spermatogonia and all subsequent stages of spermatogenesis are lower than the frequency for primitive type A spermatogonia. In addition, spermatogenic cells from old mice have significantly increased mutation frequencies compared with spermatogenic cells from young or middle-aged mice. Finally, the mutation frequency was observed to increase during spermiogenesis in postreplicative cell types when spermatogenic cells were obtained from old mice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10015-10019
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number17
StatePublished - Aug 18 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Mutation frequency declines during spermatogenesis in young mice but increases in old mice'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this