Mice of the XO genotype with a paternally derived X chromosome (XpO) have placental hyperplasia in late pregnancy, although in early pregnancy the ectoplacental cone, a placental precursor, is smaller in XpO mice than in their XX sibs. This early size deficiency of the ectoplacental cone is apparently a consequence of Xp imprinting, because XmO embryos (with a maternally derived X chromosome) are unaffected. In the present study we sought to establish whether XpO placental hyperplasia in late pregnancy is also a consequence of Xp imprinting. Placental weight data were first collected from litters that included XpO or XmO fetuses and XX controls. Comparison of XO placentae with XX placentae showed that XpO and XmO placentae are hyperplastic. This finding suggested that the hyperplasia might be an X dosage effect, and this hypothesis was supported by the finding that XY male fetuses from the same crosses also had larger placentae than their XX sibs. Further analysis of a range of sex-chromosome variant genotypes, including XmYSry-negative females and XXSry transgenic males, showed that mouse fetuses with one X chromosome consistently had larger placentae than littermates with two X chromosomes, independent of their gonadal/androgen status.
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