The goal of this project to fully understand the genetics of certain inherited behaviors segregating in specific strains of silver foxes. The range of behaviors in these foxes has significant parallels to that of normal and disordered patterns of human sociability. The proposed research will characterize the genetic loci determining fox behavioral phenotypes to yield insights into the genetics of social behavior and its underlying molecular mechanisms, not only in foxes, but in other mammals, including humans. In previous studies, specific strains of silver fox (Vulpes vulpes) were developed, at the Russian Institute of Cytology and Genetics (ICG), that exhibit extremely friendly behavior towards humans, in contrast to their wild-type ancestors that resist human contact. The current proposal is a joint research project between scientists at Cornell University, ICG, and the University of Utah, to define the molecular genetic mechanisms underlying these different behaviors. Fox behavioral phenotypes have been defined using principal-components analysis. Genetic loci underlying these behavioral phenotypes have been mapped in powerful sets of fox backcross pedigrees using the newly developed meiotic linkage map of the fox genome. These identified quantitative trait loci will be validated in extended sets of highly informative experimental pedigrees. Combined linkage and linkage disequilibrium mapping will be applied to define the critical regions of the fox genome in which quantitative trait loci have been identified, and identify potential candidate genes. The effect of identified loci on behavior will be determined in experimental pedigrees using marker assisted selection. The identification of genes and loci influencing social behavior in foxes is anticipated to provide new insights into, and candidate genes for human disorders of social behavior. Furthermore, such a well- established large animal model, intermediate between rodents and primates in biological complexity, would then offer opportunities to investigate potential therapies for such human disorders as autism, schizophrenia, anxiety, depression, personality disorders, panic disorder and other traits. ? ? ?

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Type
Research Project (R01)
Project #
1R01MH077811-01A1
Application #
7322389
Study Section
Biobehavioral Regulation, Learning and Ethology Study Section (BRLE)
Program Officer
Beckel-Mitchener, Andrea C
Project Start
2007-08-01
Project End
2011-07-31
Budget Start
2007-08-01
Budget End
2008-07-31
Support Year
1
Fiscal Year
2007
Total Cost
$326,238
Indirect Cost
Name
Cornell University
Department
Veterinary Sciences
Type
Schools of Veterinary Medicine
DUNS #
872612445
City
Ithaca
State
NY
Country
United States
Zip Code
14850
Nelson, Ronald M; Temnykh, Svetlana V; Johnson, Jennifer L et al. (2017) Genetics of Interactive Behavior in Silver Foxes (Vulpes vulpes). Behav Genet 47:88-101
Kukekova, Anna V; Johnson, Jennifer L; Kharlamova, Anastasiya V et al. (2016) Georgian white coat color of red fox (Vulpes vulpes) maps to fox chromosome 2 in the region containing KIT gene. Anim Genet 47:514-5
Johnson, Jennifer L; Wittgenstein, Helena; Mitchell, Sharon E et al. (2015) Genotyping-By-Sequencing (GBS) Detects Genetic Structure and Confirms Behavioral QTL in Tame and Aggressive Foxes (Vulpes vulpes). PLoS One 10:e0127013
Johnson, J L; Kozysa, A; Kharlamova, A V et al. (2015) Platinum coat color in red fox (Vulpes vulpes) is caused by a mutation in an autosomal copy of KIT. Anim Genet 46:190-9
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Kukekova, Anna V; Temnykh, Svetlana V; Johnson, Jennifer L et al. (2012) Genetics of behavior in the silver fox. Mamm Genome 23:164-77
Kukekova, Anna V; Trut, Lyudmila N; Chase, Kevin et al. (2011) Mapping Loci for fox domestication: deconstruction/reconstruction of a behavioral phenotype. Behav Genet 41:593-606
Kukekova, Anna V; Johnson, Jennifer L; Teiling, Clotilde et al. (2011) Sequence comparison of prefrontal cortical brain transcriptome from a tame and an aggressive silver fox (Vulpes vulpes). BMC Genomics 12:482
Gogoleva, Svetlana S; Volodin, Ilya A; Volodina, Elena V et al. (2011) Explosive vocal activity for attracting human attention is related to domestication in silver fox. Behav Processes 86:216-21
Statham, Mark J; Trut, Lyudmila N; Sacks, Ben N et al. (2011) On the origin of a domesticated species: Identifying the parent population of Russian silver foxes (Vulpes vulpes). Biol J Linn Soc Lond 103:168-175

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