Spontaneous Mutation in Big Blue® Mice from Fetus to Old Age: Tissue-Specific Time Courses of Mutation Frequency but Similar Mutation Types

Kathleen A. Hill, Victoria L. Buettner, Asanga Halangoda, Makoto Kunishige, Stephen R. Moore, Jeffrey Longmate, William A. Scaringe, Steve S. Sommer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Transgenic mouse mutation detection systems permit rapid determination of the frequency and type of mutations allowing direct examination of mutational markers for aging, neurodegeneration, and cancer. The Big Blue® transgenic mouse mutation detection system was used to determine the frequency and nature of spontaneous mutations versus age in multiple tissue types. Nuclear DNA was extracted from whole fetus at 13.5 days postcoitus (dpc) and from six tissues postbirth (cerebellum, forebrain, thymus, liver, adipose tissue, and male germline) of Big Blue transgenic mice at four ages: 10 days and at 3, 10, and 25 months postbirth. Forty million total plaque-forming units (pfu) were screened. The time course of mutation frequency with age had a significantly different shape in different tissues (P < 10-6). By 13.5 dpc, the whole fetus mutation frequency had already started increasing from the theoretical zero at conception to a value that was about one-half the mid-adulthood (3-10 months) average. From 10 days to 3 months, mutation frequency increased significantly in liver (P = 0.007) and showed an increasing trend in cerebellum, forebrain, and thymus. From 3 to 10 months, there was no significant change in mutation frequency in any tissue examined. From 10 to 25 months, the mutation frequency increased significantly in liver (P < 10 -6) and adipose tissue (P = 0.002), but not in the other tissues examined (cerebellum, forebrain, and male germline). It is of interest that the mutation frequency in the male germline is consistently the lowest, remaining essentially unchanged in old age. The spectrum of mutation types was unaltered with age, tissue type and gender, although, as previously reported, tandem GG→TT mutations are tissue specific and show significant increases with age and certain hotspots (Buettner VL et al. [1999]: Environ Mol Mutagen 33: 320-324; Hill KA et al. [2003]: Mutat Res 534:173-186). The spectrum of mutation types was generally the same for all tissue types, despite the tissue-specific increases in mutation frequency with age. These data provide a useful reference for future studies of endogenous and exogenous mutagenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)110-120
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental and Molecular Mutagenesis
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Fetus
  • Glio
  • Jackpot mutation
  • Lacl
  • Liver
  • Male germline
  • Mutation frequency
  • Neurons
  • Odipocytes
  • Tandem-base mutations
  • Thymus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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