Litter size of DNA microinjected zygotes is lower than for non-manipulated zygotes. The rate of embryonic and fetal survival in early, mid and late gestation was determined to assess whether DNA integration was responsible for embryonic losses. Also, the effect of including non-microinjected embryos with injected embryos on pregnancy rate and transgenic pup production was determined. In Experiment I, one-cell embryos from immature CD-1 mice were microinjected with a whey acidic protein promoter-human protein C gene construct. One hour after microinjection embryos were transferred to pseudopregnant recipients (45 transfers of 30 embryos each). Fifteen recipients were sacrificed on day 4, 12 and Is of gestation and the embryos/fetuses analysed for the transgene. The percentage of embryos or fetuses that were positive for the transgene was not significantly different at any day. However, the number of viable embryos at day 4 was significantly greater than fetuses on days 12 or 18. In addition, a high degree of mosaicism was observed in day 18 fetuses and placentae recovered. In Experiment 2, one-cell embryos from CD-1 mice were microinjected and co-transferred with non-manipulated embryos (C57BL/6). Pregnancy rate and the total number of pups born were improved by addition of non-injected embryos. However, the number of transgenic mice produced was similar whether non-injected embryos were included or not. There were 32.2% (15/46) transgenic pups when 0 non-injected embryos were transferred compared with 15.1% (13/86) transgenic pups when 4 or 8 non-injected embryos were added to the transfers. In summary, a high degree of embryonic and fetal mortality occurs among microinjected embryos. Furthermore, since the percentage of transgenesis did not change throughout pregnancy, DNA integration does not appear to account for all of the embryonic losses. Other factor(s) related to the microinjection procedure may be involved in the embryonic and fetal failure of microinjected embryos. Addition of non-injected embryos, although it increased pregnancy rate and the number of pups born from microinjected embryos, actually decreased the number of transgenic pups obtained per pregnancy.
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