Multi-phenotype behavioral characterization of inbred strains derived from wild stocks of Mus musculus

Mamm Genome. 2000 Aug;11(8):664-70. doi: 10.1007/s003350010129.


Many aspects of mouse behavior have been studied by using only a relatively small sample of available laboratory strains. These laboratory mice were derived from the so-called "fancy mouse" and in most cases underwent extensive domestication before inbreeding. Thus, the behavioral repertoire of the laboratory mouse may be very different from that exhibited by stocks that have not been deliberately domesticated. Another inherent problem in analyzing mouse behavior is that genetic diversity is limited among currently available strains. In this respect, the use of strains that are derived from a variety of wild mice should provide a means to identifying novel behavioral phenotypes. We have investigated several behavioral phenotypes, using females of a number of mouse strains derived from wild mice of different subspecies, BFM/2, NJL, BLG2, HMI, CAST/Ei, KJR, SWN and MSM; a strain derived from fancy mice, JF1; and two laboratory strains, C57BL/6 and DBA/1. In this report, tests for locomotor activity, light-dark transitions, passive and active avoidance, and nociception were conducted. The results show great diversity of behavioral patterns between strains in contrast to less within-strain variability. We also found that two strains, KJR and SWN, both have good learning ability, whereas BLG2 mice exhibit impairment in both passive and active avoidance learning.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Avoidance Learning / physiology
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Female
  • Light
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains / genetics
  • Mice, Inbred Strains / physiology*
  • Mice, Inbred Strains / psychology
  • Microsatellite Repeats / genetics
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Pain / psychology
  • Pain Measurement
  • Phenotype
  • Polymorphism, Genetic