Early development in mice: II. Sensory motor behavior and genetic analysis

Physiol Behav. 1985 Nov;35(5):659-66. doi: 10.1016/0031-9384(85)90393-2.


The genetic and environmental bases for differences in rate of development were investigated in 2 inbred strains of mice: C57BL/6By (B) and BALB/cBy (C). Twelve motor responses, aside from individual weight, were used to measure these differences. The Recombinant Inbred Strains method was chosen to perform the genetic analysis. Overdominance is shown to be present in 2 variables alone (eye opening, weight at 10 and 20 days). In most cases, each of the response reflexes was found to be associated with several genes (locomotion, hind limb, crossed extensor, righting, vibrissae placing, bar holding). Differences across strains are associated with one segregating unit for rate of disappearance of the rooting response. This unit is mapped on the part of the 4th chromosome including the loci b and H-21. The strain distribution pattern differs for each sensory motor response, consequently no one general genetic factor of development can be advanced. Maternal effects were found for 4 variables (grasping, fore limb placing, eye opening and weight). For two responses, the F1 pups developing the fastest were reared by mothers from the slowest developing parental strain. As regards this latter finding, the authors hypothesize that mothers differ as to the quality of the environment they furnish to their young and pups differ in their ability to benefit from these environments.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal*
  • Genetics, Behavioral
  • Hybridization, Genetic
  • Individuality
  • Locomotion
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Nervous System / growth & development*
  • Posture
  • Reflex / physiology
  • Species Specificity
  • Vibrissae