Digit Ratio (2D:4D) Differences between 20 Strains of Inbred Mice

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Douglas Wahlsten, Visiting Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/

Abstract: The second to fourth digit ratio (2D:4D) is sexually differentiated in a variety of species, including humans, rats, birds, and lizards. In humans, this ratio tends to be lower in males than in females. Lower digit ratios are believed to indicate increased prenatal testosterone exposure, and are associated with more masculinized behavior across a range of traits. The story seems more complicated in laboratory mice. We have previously shown that there is no sex difference in the digit ratios of inbred mice, but found behavioral evidence to suggest that higher 2D:4D is associated with more masculinized behaviors. Work examining intrauterine position effects show that neighbouring males raise pup digit ratio, suggesting again that higher digit ratios are associated with increased developmental androgens. Other work has suggested that masculinization is associated with lower digit ratios in lab mice. Here, we examine the fore- and hindlimb digit ratios of 20 inbred mouse strains. We find large inter-strain differences, but no sexual dimorphism. Digit ratios also did not correlate with mice behavioral traits. This result calls into question the use of this trait as a broadly applicable indicator for prenatal androgen exposure. We suggest that the inbred mice model presents an opportunity for researchers to investigate the genetic, and gene-environmental influence on the development of digit ratios.

Additional Information

PLoS One 4(6), e5801
Language: English
Date: 2009
Genetic difference, Inbreeding, Sexual dimorphism, Digit ratio, Mice, Development

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