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Genes Brain Behav. 2008 Aug;7(6):618-28. doi: 10.1111/j.1601-183X.2008.00398.x. Epub 2008 Mar 19.

Calcium taste preferences: genetic analysis and genome screen of C57BL/6J x PWK/PhJ hybrid mice.

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Monell Chemical Senses Center, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


To characterize the genetic basis of voluntary calcium consumption, we tested C57BL/6J mice (B6; with low avidity for calcium), PWK/PhJ mice (PWK; with high avidity for calcium) and their F(1) and F(2) hybrids. All mice received a series of 96-h two-bottle preference tests with a choice between water and the following: 50 mm CaCl(2), 50 mm calcium lactate, 50 mm MgCl(2), 100 mm KCl, 100 mm NH(4)Cl, 100 mm NaCl, 5 mm citric acid, 30 microm quinine hydrochloride and 2 mm saccharin. Most frequency distributions of the parental and F(1) but not F(2) groups were normally distributed, and there were few sex differences. Reciprocal cross analysis showed that B6 x PWK F(1) mice had a non-specific elevation of fluid intake relative to PWK x B6 F(1) mice. In the F(2) mice, trait correlations were clustered among the divalent salts and the monovalent chlorides. A genome screen involving 116 markers showed 30 quantitative trait loci (QTLs), of which six involved consumption of calcium chloride or lactate. The results show pleiotropic controls of calcium and magnesium consumption that are distinct from those controlling consumption of monovalent chlorides or exemplars of the primary taste qualities.

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