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Behav Genet. 1996 Sep;26(5):463-70.

Issues in the genetics of social behavior: revisited.

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  • 1Department of Biology, William Paterson College, Wayne, New Jersey 07470, USA.


Though social behavior has not been overlooked by behavior geneticists, the number of studies is small when compared to those on individual traits. One reason for the neglect may be the difficulty of making connections between genes and social behaviors, which by definition involve the interaction of two or more organisms. Fuller and Hahn (1976) addressed this issue and described three means of establishing social groups that would facilitate genetic analysis. We survey the literature on agonistic behavior in mice from 1976 through 1994 and describe interesting uses of those three methods. One of those methods (the standard tester design) often employs a "noninteractive" social partner. We present data showing that the standard tester design may be more valuable when using an evocative and interactive standard tester.

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