A simple genetic basis for a complex psychological trait in laboratory mice

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Science  08 Sep 1995:
Vol. 269, Issue 5229, pp. 1432-1435
DOI: 10.1126/science.7660127


Psychological traits are commonly inferred from covariation in sets of behavioral measures that otherwise appear to have little in common. Emotionality in mice is such a trait, defined here by covariation in activity and defecation in a novel environment and emergence into the open arms of an elevated plus maze. Behavioral and quantitative trait analyses were conducted on four measures obtained from 879 mice from an F2 intercross. Three loci, on murine chromosomes 1, 12, and 15, were mapped that influence emotionality. This trait, inferred from studies of strain, sex, and individual differences in rodents, may be related to human susceptibility to anxiety or neuroticism.