QTL analysis of behavioral and morphological differentiation between wild and laboratory zebrafish (Danio rerio)

Behav Genet. 2006 Mar;36(2):271-84. doi: 10.1007/s10519-005-9029-4. Epub 2006 Jan 12.


The zebrafish is an important model organism for neuro-anatomy and developmental genetics. It also offers opportunities for investigating the functional and evolutionary genetics of behaviour but these have yet to be exploited. The ecology of anti-predator behaviour has been widely studied in fish and has been shown to vary among populations and between wild and domesticated (laboratory) fish. Here, we utilise the strong behavioural differences present between a wild-derived strain of fish from Bangladesh and the laboratory strain AB. In total, 184 F2 fish were generated and tested for shoaling tendency and willingness to approach an unfamiliar object ('boldness'). Our results indicate the existence of QTL for boldness on chromosomes 9 and 16 and suggest another genomic region that influences anti-predator behaviour on chromosome 21. QTL for growth rate, weight and fat content, all of which are elevated in laboratory fish, were detected on chromosome 23. These initial results confirm the potential for QTL mapping of behavioural traits in zebrafish and also for dissecting the consequences of selection during domestication.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Laboratory / genetics*
  • Animals, Wild / genetics*
  • Arousal / genetics
  • Bangladesh
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • Female
  • Male
  • Models, Genetic
  • Quantitative Trait Loci / genetics*
  • Species Specificity
  • Zebrafish / anatomy & histology
  • Zebrafish / genetics*