Behavioral characterization of wild derived male mice (Mus musculus musculus) of the PWD/Ph inbred strain: high exploration compared to C57BL/6J

Behav Genet. 2004 Nov;34(6):621-30. doi: 10.1007/s10519-004-5589-y.


PWD/Ph is an inbred mouse strain derived from wild mice trapped in central Czech Republic. These mice are of the Mus musculus musculus subspecies, whose ancestors separated from those of Mus musculus domesticus about one million years ago. There is a high degree of variation in the genomic sequence and a wide range of phenotypes between PWD/Ph and standard laboratory inbred mouse strains, the genomes of which are principally Mus musculus domesticus in origin, making PWD/Ph mice an useful resource for complex trait research. As a first step in taking advantage of this resource, a preliminary characterization of the behavior of PWD/Ph mice was performed. Groups of 10 PWD/Ph and C57BL/6J male mice were tested in the open field, novel object exploration task and Morris water maze. PWD/Ph were marginally more anxious than C57BL/6J mice in the open field but subsequently displayed much higher levels of exploration and lower anxiety than C57BL/6J mice following introduction of a novel object. As C57BL/6J itself is rated as highly explorative among classical inbred strains, PWD/Ph probably represents an extreme among mouse strains for this specific behavior. PWD/Ph and C57BL/6J mice differed in their water escape training profiles in the Morris water maze, perhaps reflecting different motivational factors. However, there were no differences in overall cognitive ability (spatial learning) as both groups learned to find the hidden platform and performed equally well when the location of the platform was changed. This is the first quantification of the behavior of PWD/Ph mice and the results are promising for the potential of the consomic panel currently being generated with PWD/Ph and C57BL/6J as a tool for the molecular dissection of behavior.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Wild
  • Exploratory Behavior*
  • Maze Learning / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL / genetics*
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL / psychology
  • Mice, Inbred Strains / genetics*
  • Mice, Inbred Strains / psychology
  • Reaction Time
  • Species Specificity