by hartb52 on May 4, 2017 - 4:47pm
Do Genes Play a Role in Parental Care of Monogamous Mice?
Figure 1: Peromyscus polionotus
Figure 2: Peromyscus maniculatus
Since the start of the study of animals people have come to find that parental care is essential for the survival of mammals. There was a study primarily done by Andres Bendesky and other scientsist involing monogamous mice, and what scientists sought to connect was the underlying mechanisms within the evolution of parental care. For the study two sister species of mice, Peromyscus polionotus and Peromyscus maniculatus, were used because they have contrasting heritable differences in parental behaviour. Quantitative genetics was used where the scientist identified 12 genomic regions that affected parental care amoung the mice. Some of these regions were found to affect parental care more broadly, compared to other regions that just affected specific habits, like nest building. From this scientists then found that vasopressin was differently expressed in the hypothalamus of the two mice species . The scientists then manipulated vasopressin to show that increased vasopressin decreased the amount of nest building . This data then lead to the conclusion that variation in an ancient neuropeptide contributes to interspecific variations in mice parental care.
I am posting about this because the fact that people are able to find a link between parental care and genetics is interesting to say the least. I believe this connection could lead to more advanced findings and research into human parental behavior. For instance, if mice have genomic regions that can be altered in order to change their parental behavior, what could be some potential possibilities for human parental care alterations? if any at all. Something to think about.
 Bult, A., van der Zee, E. A., Compaan, J. C. & Lynch, C. B. Differences in the number of arginine-vasopressin-immunoreactive neurons exist in the suprachiasmatic nuclei of house mice selected for differences in nest-building behavior. Brain Res. 578, 335–338 (1992)
 Wang, Z., Ferris, C. F. & De Vries, G. J. Role of septal vasopressin innervation in paternal behavior in prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster). Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 91, 400–404 (1994)