Visual detection, pattern discrimination and visual acuity in 14 strains of mice

Genes Brain Behav. 2006 Jul;5(5):389-403. doi: 10.1111/j.1601-183X.2005.00173.x.


Based on the procedure of Prusky et al. (2000, Vision Research, 40, 2201-2209), we used a computer-based, two-alternative swim task to evaluate visual detection, pattern discrimination and visual acuity in 14 strains of mice from priority groups A and B of the JAX phenome project (129S1/SvImJ, A/J, AKR/J, BALB/cByJ, BALB/cJ, C3H/HeJ, C57BL/6J, CAST/Ei, DBA/2J, FVB/NJ, MOLF/Ei, SJL/J, SM/J and SPRET/Ei). Each mouse was tested for eight trials/day for 8 days on each of the three tests. There was a significant strain difference in visual ability in all three tests. Mice with reported normal vision (129S1/SvImJ, C57BL/6J and DBA/2J) and one albino strain (AKR/J) performed very well in these tasks. The other albino strains (A/J, BALB/cByJ and BALB/cJ) took longer to learn the tasks than mice with normal vision and did not reach the criterion of 70% correct. Mice with retinal degeneration (C3H/HeJ, FVB/NJ, MOLF/Ei and SJL/J) performed only at chance levels as did the three strains with unknown visual abilities (CAST/Ei, SM/J and SPRET/Ei). Because many behavioral tasks for rodents rely on visual cues, we suggest that the visual abilities of mice should be evaluated before they are tested in commonly used visuo-spatial learning and memory tasks.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Body Size
  • Female
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C3H
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Inbred DBA
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology*
  • Retinal Degeneration / physiopathology*
  • Sex Factors
  • Species Specificity
  • Visual Acuity / genetics
  • Visual Acuity / physiology*
  • Visual Perception / genetics
  • Visual Perception / physiology*