The genetics of pain and analgesia in laboratory animals

Methods Mol Biol. 2010;617:261-78. doi: 10.1007/978-1-60327-323-7_20.


Pain and analgesia traits are heritable in humans and in mice. To better understand the mechanisms of heritability, animal models that provide greater control than is possible in humans over genotype, previous history, environment, and stimulus parameters are available. This chapter will highlight several common methods to study the genetic mechanisms of heritable sensitivity to pain and pain-related traits in rodents. Methods to demonstrate and estimate the heritability of a trait are discussed, as are genetic correlation analysis and linkage mapping. Practical concerns are highlighted throughout this chapter. Due to limitations on the use of humans for similarly powered experiments, these and other animal models remain an essential component in the study of heritable mechanisms of pain and analgesia.

MeSH terms

  • Analgesia*
  • Animals
  • Animals, Laboratory / genetics*
  • Breeding
  • Chromosome Mapping / methods
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains*
  • Models, Animal
  • Pain / genetics*
  • Pain Measurement / instrumentation
  • Pain Measurement / methods
  • Pain Threshold
  • Quantitative Trait Loci