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Behav Processes. 2011 Oct;88(2):81-7. doi: 10.1016/j.beproc.2011.08.004. Epub 2011 Aug 18.

Genotype-dependent participation of coat color gene loci in the behavioral traits of laboratory mice.

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Department of Animal Science, College of Bioresource Sciences, Nihon University, 1866 Kameino, Fujisawa, Kanagawa 252-0880, Japan.


To evaluate if loci responsible for coat color phenotypes contribute to behavioral characteristics, we specified novel gene loci associated with social exploratory behavior and examined the effects of the frequency of each allele at distinct loci on behavioral expression. We used the F2 generation, which arose from the mating of F1 mice obtained by interbreeding DBA/2 and ICR mice. Phenotypic analysis indicated that the agouti and albino loci affect behavioral traits. A genotype-based analysis revealed that novel exploratory activity was suppressed in a manner dependent on the frequency of the dominant wild-type allele at the agouti, but not albino, locus. The allele-dependent suppression was restricted to colored mice and was not seen in albino mice. The present results suggest that the agouti locus contributes to a particular behavioral trait in the presence of a wild-type allele at the albino locus, which encodes a structural gene for tyrosinase.

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