Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Nels H. Granholm


The lethal yellow allele, AY is a mouse mutation which manifests itself in a number of defects. Several studies have used AY as a subject since it was first described in 1905 by Cuenot. Despite these investigations, primary genetic and molecular lesions associated with AY remain unknown. Cuenot reported three aberrant phenotypic aberrations caused by AY: yellow coat color, obesity, and lethality in homozygous embryos (AY/AY). Bray and York reviewed a number of additional AY-induced abnormalities, one of which is AY-induced reproductive senescence. Reproductive failure of AY/-mice is the main emphasis of this thesis. Through investigation of the causes of AY-induced sterility we may be able to elucidate fundamental problems and apply this information to other animals displaying reduced or aberrant reproductive performance. Although this study concentrates on AY-induced reproductive senescence, some other AY-induced abnormalities are: 1) abnormal embryo-uterine interactions at implantation. 2) increased carcass size. 3) defects in regulation of body heat. 4) metabolic pathways preferring fat synthesis. 5) aberrant biochemistry leading to a diabetic-like condition and obesity. Items 1-5, listed above, are all of interest in-biological research. Their common denominator is the lethal yellow gene. This study is designed to shed light on the process of aberrant reproduction by using a mutation as a probe. In this instance, nature provides the experimental treatment. Because mutations are repeatable, predictable, and capable of being characterized, they make elegant experimental manipulations.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Lethal mutation

Mice -- Genetics



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University