Behavior Genetics

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 53–67

Female discrimination of male odors correlated with male genotype at the T locus: A response to T-locus or H-2-locus variability?

  • Sarah Lenington
  • Kathleen Egid

DOI: 10.1007/BF01071932

Cite this article as:
Lenington, S. & Egid, K. Behav Genet (1985) 15: 53. doi:10.1007/BF01071932


Female house mice (Mus musculus), derived from several populations of wild-caught mice, were tested for their ability to discriminate between males whose genotype at the T locus was +/+ and those whose genotype was +/t, using odor cues alone. Females spent more time near the odors or +/+ males than near the odors of +/t males. This preference was independent of the T-locus genotype of the female and the particular type of t allele carried by either the male or the female. A female's preference, however, did appear to be related to the genotype of her parents. Females with one +/t parent were more likely to prefer +/t males than were females whose parents were both +/+. In a second experiment 18 females were tested with odors from soiled bedding of recombinant males whose genotype varied at the T locus but who were similar at the H-2 locus. As a control, these 18 females were also tested with bedding of wild-derived +/+ and +/tw semilethal males. Females tested with recombinant males preferred odors of males not carrying lethal t alleles over those of males carrying two lethal t alleles, indicating that T-locus variability, not H-2-locus variability, is responsible for odor differences between +/+ and +/t males. Female responses to odors of recombinanat males did not differ from those to odors of +/+ and +/tw semilethal males. Responses of mice to odor differences associated with T-locus variability may have evolved independently of responses to odor variability associated with the H-2 locus.

Key Words

T locus H-2 locus odor preference mating preference fitness 

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah Lenington
    • 1
  • Kathleen Egid
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Animal BehaviorRutgers UniversityNewark

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