Insulin resistance can result from genetic interactions among susceptibility alleles. To identify genetic loci predisposing to insulin resistance, we used crosses between different strains of mice with a targeted null allele of the insulin receptor gene. On the genetic background of B6 mice, the insulin receptor gene mutation causes mild hyperinsulinemia. In contrast, on the genetic background of 129/Sv mice, the same mutation causes severe hyperinsulinemia, suggesting that the 129/Sv strain harbors alleles that interact with the insulin receptor mutation and predispose to insulin resistance. As a first step to identify these alleles, we generated an F2 intercross between insulin receptor heterozygous mutant mice on B6 and 129/Sv backgrounds (B6IR x 129IR) and performed a genome-wide scan with polymorphic markers at a 20-cM resolution. We report the identification of loci on chromosomes 2 (logarithm of odds [LOD] 5.58) and 10 (LOD 5.58) that show significant evidence for linkage to plasma insulin levels as a quantitative trait. These findings indicate that targeted mutations in knockout mice can be used to unravel the complex genetic interactions underlying insulin resistance.

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