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Exp Anim. 2011;60(4):347-54.

A new twist on behavioral genetics by incorporating wild-derived mouse strains.

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Mouse Genomics Resource Laboratory, National Institute of Genetics, Mishima, Shizuoka 411-8540, Japan.


Behavior has been proven to be extremely variable among human individuals. One of the most important factors for such variations of behavior is genetic diversity. A variety of mouse strains are reportedly suitable animal models for investigating the genetic basis of large individual differences in behavior. Laboratory strains have been shown to exhibit different behavioral traits due to variations in their genetic background. However, they show low-level genetic polymorphism because the original colony used for establishing the strains comprises a relatively small number of mice. Furthermore, because the laboratory strains were derived from fancy mice, they have lost the original behavioral phenotype of wild mice. Therefore, incorporation of inbred strains derived from wild mice of different mouse subspecies for behavioral studies is a marked advantage. In the long-term process of establishing a variety of wild-derived inbred strains from wild mice captured all over the world, a number of strains have been established. We previously identified a marked variety in behavioral traits using a Mishima battery. This review reports on the usefulness of wild-derived strains for genetic analyses of behavioral phenotypes in mice.

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