Evidence for Epigenetic Interactions for Loci on Mouse Chromosome 1 Regulating Open Field Activity
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The expression of motor activity levels in response to novel situations is under complex genetic and environmental control. Several genetic loci have been implicated in the regulation of this behavioral phenotype, but their relationship to epigenetic and epistatic interactions is relatively unknown. Here, we report on a quantitative trait locus (QTL) on mouse chromosome 1 for novelty-induced motor activity in the open field, using chromosome substitution strains derived from a high active host strain (C57BL/6J) and a low active donor strain (A/J). The QTL for open field (horizontal distance moved) peaked at the location of Kcnj9, however, QTL detection was initially masked by an interplay of both grandparent genetic origin and genetic co-factors influencing behavior on chromosome 1. Our findings indicate that epigenetic interactions can play an important role in the identification of behavioral QTLs and must be taken into consideration when applying behavioral genetic strategies.