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Application of Biometrical Genetics to Behaviour in Rats


PREVIOUS work on the psychological genetics of behaviour (‘psychogenetics’) in animals has usually attempted to analyse major gene effects. Few aspects of behaviour are suitable for such analysis, and the techniques of biometrical genetics, developed by Mather1 for studying continuous variation, and employing the polygenic hypothesis, were therefore applied to two behavioural characteristics in the rat, namely, the defæcation and ambulation responses observed on exposure to the slight stress of the open-field test, and which are regarded as indices of emotional reactivity2.

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  1. 1

    Mather, K., ‘Biometrical Genetics’ (Methuen, 1949).

  2. 2

    Broadhurst, P. L., Brit. J. Psychol., 48, 1 (1957).

  3. 3

    Jinks, J. L., Genetics, 39, 767 (1954).

  4. 4

    Hayman, B. I., Genetics, 39, 789 (1954).

  5. 5

    Broadhurst, P. L., in ‘Experiments in Personality’, 1, ‘Psychogenetics and Psychopharmacology’, edit. by Eysenck, H. J. (Routledge and Kegan Paul, in the press).

  6. 6

    Broadhurst, P. L., J. Comp. Physiol. Phychol., 51, 55 (1958).

  7. 7

    Hayman, B. I., Biometrics, 10, 235 (1954).

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