Summary. Selection for litter size (Line SI) and for post-weaning body weight gain (Line G) increased spontaneous ovulation rate in mature females by 69 and 73%, respectively, over that of randomly bred control mice (Line C). Inbreeding from S1 mice with selection for litter size produced highly inbred lines with elevated ovulation rates. Inbreeding from Line C mice produced a 21% divergence among lines, but did not depress the mean ovulation rate. Crosses of these lines revealed little heterosis in ovulation rate. LH receptors were induced by treating females from 22 days of age with diethylstilboestrol for 4 days and FSH for 2 days. The in-vitro binding of 1 25I-labelled hCG per μg DNA decreased 56% in response to selection for litter size and increased 57% in response to selection for body weight gain, indicating high susceptibility of this trait to genetic change. Inbreeding from Line C mice produced a 135% divergence amongst lines, but did not depress the mean LH receptor induction. Body weight had significant effects on ovulation rate and LH receptor induction.
These results show that selection for litter size and for rapid post-weaning body weight gain increases ovulation rate, but we suggest that different mechanisms are involved in these responses.