Restorative Plasticity in the Behaviour of the Mutant Mouse Staggerer

  • Jean-Marie Guastavino
  • Knut Larsson
Part of the Advances in Behavioral Biology book series (ABBI, volume 28)


The staggerer mutation occurs in the C 57/BL strain of mice. It is due to a single recessive gene on chromosome 9, which prevents normal cerebellar development. Behaviorally, the mutant is recognized from day 9–10 postnatally by its abnormal gait and impaired body balance, hence the denotation “staggerer”. The mutant does not survive beyond weaning under standard laboratory conditions and was until recently only maintained by intercrossing heterozygous sg/+ parents. We report here that by adaptating the physical and social environment to the staggerer’s peculiarities, this mutant can be maintained until adulthood and even reproduce. The following experimental results are reported:
  1. 1)

    The mutant does not rise on his hindiegs, cannot eat solid food and does not build nests. To compensate for these behaviour deficits, special arrangements were made in the cage. The mutant has a faulty body temperature regulation and was therefore provided shelters made out of a thermoinsulating material. The shelters permitted the entrance of only one individual at a time, thus giving the animal an opportunity to escape aggressive encounters with normal mice, thus improving the social life of the staggerer. Under these environmental conditions the mutant can live a fairly normal life until old age.



Normal Mouse Special Arrangement Solid Food Maternal Behaviour Standard Laboratory Condition 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean-Marie Guastavino
    • 1
  • Knut Larsson
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratoire d’Etnologie, U.A. CNRS N°667Université Paris-NordVilletaneuseFrance
  2. 2.Dept. of Psychology, Unit of PsychobiologyUniversity of GöteborgGotëborg 14Sweden

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