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Sex chromosome complement regulates habit formation


Sex differences in brain function and behavior are regularly attributed to gonadal hormones. Some brain sexual dimorphisms, however, are direct actions of sex chromosome genes that are not mediated by gonadal hormones. We used mice in which sex chromosome complement (XX versus XY) and gonadal sex (ovaries versus testes) were independent, and found that XX mice showed faster food-reinforced instrumental habit formation than XY mice, regardless of gonadal phenotype.

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Figure 1: Mouse genotypes and experimental procedure.
Figure 2: XX mice show faster habit formation than XY mice, independent of gonadal phenotype.


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We thank R. Watkins for assistance with this study and H. Schmidt for assistance in preparing the figures. This research was supported by the Tourette's Syndrome Association, Women's Health Research at Yale/Donaghue Women's Health Investigator Program, the US National Institutes of Health DA11717 and DA16556 (J.R.T. and J.J.Q.) and NS045966 (A.P.A.), and by the Isis Fund of the Society for Women's Health Research (J.R.T. and A.P.A.). This work was conducted at the Abraham Ribicoff Research Facilities of the Connecticut Mental Health Center.

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J.J.Q. designed and conducted the experiments and wrote the manuscript. P.K.H. designed and conducted the experiments. E.A.U. bred and genotyped the mice and conducted the surgeries. A.P.A. advised on experimental design and interpretation and wrote the manuscript. J.R.T. designed the experiments and wrote the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Jane R Taylor.

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Quinn, J., Hitchcott, P., Umeda, E. et al. Sex chromosome complement regulates habit formation. Nat Neurosci 10, 1398–1400 (2007).

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