Reciprocal embryo transfers were conducted to examine genetic and maternal effects on the behavior of inbred C3H/HeN and DBA/2J mice, and outbred NMRI mice using a motility-box. The behavioral variables measured were (i) horizontal locomotor activity assessed as the path and time spent during traveling; (ii) vertical activity assessed as the time spent with and numbers of rearings/leanings; (iii) and the time spent in the more anxiogenic central field. The transfer procedure per se resulted in a minor increase in vertical activity of inbred C3H/HeN mice, but had no effect in inbred DBA/2J mice. In contrast, outbred NMRI mice displayed a lower central field activity following embryo transfer indicating a higher anxiety level. Moreover, genetic differences between the mouse strains studied remained stable following embryo transfer for locomotor and vertical activity, but not central field activity depending on the recipient mother strain. Maternal effects were found for (i) vertical activity in the two inbred mouse strains, (ii) all behavioral variables studied in outbred NMRI mice, and (iii) an interaction with gender for the time spent in the anxiogenic central field. An additional fostering procedure revealed that the vertical activity of NMRI mice was modified towards the behavior of the recipient C3H/HeN strain by uterine factors, whereas the postnatal maternal effect of C3H/HeN mothers was the opposite. In summary, the effects of the embryo transfer procedure per se, stability of genetic characteristics following embryo transfer and maternal effects were related to the mouse strains used as donators and recipients, and the behavioral variables studied.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics