Genetic control of differential baseline breathing pattern

Clarke G. Tankersley, Robert S. Fitzgerald, Roy C. Levitt, Wayne A. Mitzner, Susan L. Ewart, Steven R. Kleeberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


The purpose of the present study was to determine the genetic control of baseline breathing pattern by examining the mode of inheritance between two inbred murine strains with differential breathing characteristics. Specifically, the rapid, shallow phenotype of the C57BL/6J (B6) strain is consistently distinct from the slow, deep phenotype of the C3H/HeJ (C3) strain. The response distributions of segregant and nonsegregant progeny were compared with the two progenitor strains to determine the mode of inheritance for each ventilatory characteristic. The BXH recombinant inbred (RI) strains derived from the B6 and C3 progenitors were examined to establish strain distribution patterns for each ventilatory trait. To establish the mode of inheritance, baseline breathing frequency (f), tidal volume, and inspiratory time (TI) were measured five times in each of 178 mature male animals from the two progenitor strains and their progeny by using whole body plethysmography. With respect to f and TI, the two progenitor strains were consistently distinct, and segregation analyses of the inheritance pattern suggest that the most parsimonious genetic model for response distributions of f and TI is a two-loci model. In similar experiments conducted on 82 mature male animals from 12 BXH RI strains, each parental phenotype was represented by one or more of the RI strains. Intermediate phenotypes emerged to confirm the likelihood that parental strain differences in f and TI were determined by more than one locus. Taken together, these studies suggest that the phenotypic difference in baseline respiratory timing between male B6 and C3 mice is best explained by a genetic model that considers at least two loci as major determinants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)874-881
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1997


  • BXH recombinant inbred strains
  • breathing frequency
  • control of ventilation
  • inbred mice
  • respiratory timing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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