Letter | Published:

Genetic analysis of behavioural responses to novelty in mice

Naturevolume 254pages239241 (1975) | Download Citation



To trace the genetic determinants of exploratory behaviour in house mice, I started a programme of selective breeding1. Using the F2 generation from a cross between the inbred strains C57BL/6J and DBA/2J as the foundation population, male mice were selected bidirectionally for frequency of exploratory rearing responses displayed in a novel environment. To transfer alleles responsible for high rearing scores from the C57BL strain to the DBA genetic background, selection was combined with repeated backcrossing to DBA females over five consecutive generations. A comparable procedure has been used by Chai2 for body size in mice. Since these early stages of the selection aimed at developing two lines of mice with similar genetic backgrounds, but differing for loci affecting rearing behaviour, no unselected control line was bred; the DBA strain could serve as this.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1

    Abeelen, J. H. F. van, in The Genetics of Behaviour (edit. by Abeelen, J. H. F. van), 38, 347–374 (North-Holland, Amsterdam, 1974).

  2. 2

    Chai, C. K., Genet. Res., 11, 239–246 (1968), Genetics, 68, 299–311 (1971).

  3. 3

    DeFries, J. C., and Hegmann, J. P., in Contributions to Behaviour–genetic Analysis: The Mouse as a Prototype (edit. by Lindzey, G., and Thiessen, D. D.), 23–56 (Appleton–Century–Crofts, New York, 1970).

  4. 4

    DeFries, J. C., Hegmann, J. P., and Halcomb, R. A., Behav. Biol., 11, 481–495 (1974).

  5. 5

    Schlager, G., Genetics, 76, 537–549 (1974).

  6. 6

    Collins, R. L., and Fuller, J. L., Science, 162, 1137–1139 (1968).

  7. 7

    Whitney, G. D., J. Hered., 60, 337–340 (1969).

  8. 8

    Klein, T. W., and DeFries, J. C., Nature, 225, 555–557 (1970).

  9. 9

    Fuller, J. L., J. Hered., 65, 33–36 (1974).

  10. 10

    Sprott, R. L., Behav. Biol., 11, 231–237 (1974).

  11. 11

    Jinks, J. L., and Broadhurst, P. L., in The Genetics of Behaviour (edit. by Abeelen, J. H. F. van), 38, 1–41, (North-Holland, Amsterdam, 1974).

  12. 12

    Oliverio, A., Eleftheriou, B. E., and Bailey, D. W., Physiol. Behav., 10, 893–899 (1973).

Download references

Author information


  1. Genetics Laboratory, University of Nijmegen, Toernooiveld, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

    • J. H. F. VAN ABEELEN


  1. Search for J. H. F. VAN ABEELEN in:

About this article

Publication history


Issue Date



Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.