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Behav Genet. 2005 Sep;35(5):675-92.

Assessing reliability, heritability and general cognitive ability in a battery of cognitive tasks for laboratory mice.

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1
Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, London, UK. m.galsworthy@anatom.unizh.ch

Abstract

This report includes the first sibling study of mouse behavior, and presents evidence for a heritable general cognitive ability (g) factor influencing cognitive batteries. Data from a population of male and female outbred mice (n = 84), and a replication study of male sibling pairs (n = 167) are reported. Arenas employed were the T-maze, the Morris water maze, the puzzle box, the Hebb-Williams maze, object exploration, a water plus-maze, and a second food-puzzle arena. The results show a factor structure consistent with the presence of g in mice. Employing one score per arena, this factor accounts for 41% of the variance in the first study (or 36% after sex regression) and 23% in the second, where this factor also showed sibling correlations of 0.17-0.21, which translates into an upper-limit heritability estimate of around 40%. Reliabilities of many tasks are low and consequently set an even lower ceiling for inter-arena or sibling correlations. Nevertheless, the factor structure is seen to remain fairly robust across permutations of the battery composition and the current findings fit well with other recent studies.

PMID:
16184494
DOI:
10.1007/s10519-005-3423-9
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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