Send to

Choose Destination
Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 1998 May;22(3):453-62.

Behavior in mice with targeted disruption of single genes.

Author information

Department of Psychology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21218-2686, USA.


The use of mice with targeted deletion, or knockout, of specific genes provides a relatively new approach to establish the molecular bases of behavior. As with all ablation studies, the interpretation of behavioral data may be limited by the technique. For example, indirect effects of the missing gene may affect behavior, rather than the missing gene per se. Also, because the missing gene might affect many developmental processes throughout ontogeny and because up-regulation or compensatory mechanisms may be activated in knockouts, behavioral data from mice with targeted gene deletions should be interpreted with caution. The development of conditional knockouts, in which a specific gene can be inactivated any time during ontogeny, should allow investigators to avoid these conceptual shortcomings associated with behavioral data from knockouts in the near future. The behavioral alterations reported in knockout mice are reviewed here. Many dramatic changes in complex motivated behaviors including aggression, sexual, ingestive, and parental behaviors, have been reported for knockouts. There have also been many reports of alterations in sensorimotor abilities and spontaneous activity, as well as impairments in balance, coordination, and gait. Impaired learning and memory have also been reported for mice with targeted disruption of specific genes. Taken together, the use of knockouts will provide an important new tool to understand the mechanisms underlying behavior.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center