Mapping quantitative trait loci for open-field behavior in mice

Howard K. Gershenfeld, Paul E. Neumann, Chantal Mathis, Jacqueline N. Crawley, Xiaohua Li, Steven M. Paul

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By performing a whole genome screen in an F2 intercross of two strains of mice (A/J and C57BL/6J), which differ markedly in their behavioral response to a brightly lit open field (O-F) we have mapped several quantitative trait loci (QTL) for this complex behavioral phenotype. QTL on chromosomes 1 and 10 were identified that affect both initial ambulation in the O-F (initial 'response to novelty' ambulation) (lod of 7.1 and 8.8, respectively) and vertical rearings (lod of 4.5 and 8.5, respectively). For habituated O-F behavior, QTL were identified on chromosomes 3 and 10 for ambulation (lod of 4.1 and 14.7, respectively) and on chromosomes 1, 10, and 19 for vertical rearings (lod of 5.8, 6.0, and 4.7, respectively). The QTL on chromosome 1 (near D1Mit116; 101 cM) was specific for initial O-F ambulation behavior, whereas the QTL on chromosome 10 (near D10Mit237; 74 cM) affected both initial and habituated rearing behavior. Additional suggestive QTL (lod, >2.8) were mapped to chromosomes 1, 8, 11, 15, and 19. The QTL on chromosomes 1, 10, and 19 individually explain from 3.2 to 12.7%. Collectively, the multiple independent QTL explain from 16.3 to 24.1% of the F2 population's phenotypic variance, depending on the trait. These identified QTL should prove useful for dissecting the genetic and behavioral dimensions of O-F behavior, fostering an understanding of individual differences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-210
Number of pages10
JournalBehavior genetics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1997


  • Chromosomal mapping
  • Exploratory behavior
  • Habituation
  • Novelty
  • Quantitative trait loci (QTL)


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