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Behav Brain Res. 1989 Feb 1;32(1):81-8.

Behavioral responses to novelty and structural variation of the hippocampus in mice. II. Multivariate genetic analysis.

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Institut für Humangenetik und Anthropologie, Universität Heidelberg, F.R.G.


On the basis of results from lesion studies in rodents, covariations are expected to exist between naturally-occurring heritable variations in hippocampal morphology and exploratory behavior elicited by novel surroundings. For this reason, we set up a full diallel cross between five inbred mouse strains and analyzed the behavioral and the hippocampal anatomical variation in male animals from this cross. Employing a bivariate extension of the diallel-cross analysis, estimates were obtained for the phenotypical, environmental, and genetical correlations between the phenotypes studied. A factor analysis performed on the matrix of additive-genetic correlations revealed that variations in the size of the intra- and infrapyramidal mossy fiber terminal fields (iip-MF) are negatively related to open-field exploration and novelty-induced fear. These results indicate that having larger iip-MF projections promotes the collection and processing of information about a novel environment, entailing lower levels of exploration and fear.

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