Of mice and their environments. (Letter to the Editor).

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: John Bohannon’s article "Can a mouse be standardized?" (News Focus, 20 Dec., p. 2321) cites differences in data between our laboratories in support of his argument that early rearing environments, especially caging and housing conditions, are important for results of behavioral tests of mice. However, his claim that "results varied wildly between labs" is inaccurate. We presented data for eight genetic strains of mice on five behavioral tests in three labs (1). For two tests, ethanol preference and water escape learning, the three labs obtained essentially the same results. For open field activity and cocaine activation, data for five of the strains were very similar in the three labs, whereas we obtained quite different results for three genetic groups derived from the 129 strain. Only on a test of anxiety was the variation among labs close to the magnitude of genetic variation; mice tested in Edmonton were generally less anxious than those tested in Portland. This very real environmental effect had nothing to do with early housing conditions; mice of a given swain were shipped from the same supplier on the same day to the three labs 6 weeks after birth and had identical environments before shipping.

Additional Information

Science, 299: 1313-1314.
Language: English
Date: 2003
Letter to the editor, Mice, Environmental factors, Experimental models

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