Genomic imprinting refers to the pattern of monoallelic parent-of-origin-dependent gene expression where one of the two alleles at a locus is expressed and the other silenced. Although some genes in mice are known to be imprinted, the true scope of imprinting and its impact on the genetic architecture of a wide range of morphometric traits is mostly unknown. We therefore searched for quantitative trait loci (QTL) exhibiting imprinting effects on mandible size and shape traits in a large F3 population of mice originating from an intercross of the LG/J (Large) and SM/J (Small) inbred strains. We discovered a total of 51 QTL affecting mandible size and shape, 6 of which exhibited differences between reciprocal heterozygotes, the usual signature of imprinting effects. However, our analysis showed that only one of these QTL (affecting mandible size) exhibited a pattern consistent with true imprinting effects, whereas reciprocal heterozygote differences in the other five all were due to maternal genetic effects. We concluded that genomic imprinting has a negligible effect on these specific morphometric traits, and that maternal genetic effects may account for many of the previously reported instances of apparent genomic imprinting.
Leamy, L. J., Klingenberg, C. P., Sherratt, E., Wolf, J. B., & Cheverud, J. M. (2008). A search for quantitative trait loci exhibiting imprinting effects on mouse mandible size and shape. Heredity, 101(6), 518-526. https://doi.org/10.1038/hdy.2008.79