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Indication of a genetic basis of stereotypies in laboratory-bred bank voles ( Clethrionomys glareolus )

By B. Schoenecker, K. E. Heller

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The development of stereotypies was studied in 2 successive laboratory-bred generations of bank voles representing F1 (n=248) and F2 (n=270) of an originally wild caught stock. It was shown that the propensity to develop stereotypies under barren housing conditions strongly relates to the same propensity of the parents. Stereotypies were approximately 7 times more frequent in the offspring of stereotyping parents than in the offspring of permanent non-stereotypers. This held true even when only one of the parents was a stereotyper. The paternal and maternal contributions to stereotypies in the offspring appeared to be equal. Males showing stereotypies but prevented from any physical contact with the offspring were as potent as stereotyping females in producing stereotyping offspring. Moreover, the specific type of stereotypy appearing in the offspring after isolation was very much related to the type of stereotypy developed in the mothers. We found no support for the possible importance of social facilitation from littermates, in that the development of stereotypies was independent of the length of time the voles were kept socially with littermates before isolation. We suggest that the possible genetic basis of individual differences in the propensity to develop stereotypes in captivity may result from differences in genetic predispositions and their interactions with discrete frustrating stimuli early in life and/or to genetically different predispositions to cope with frustrating experiences later in life.

Date 2000
Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 68
Issue 4
Pages 339-347
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/S0168-1591(00)00114-3
Language English
Author Address Zoological Institute, University of Copenhagen, Tagensvej 16, Copenhagen N DK-2200, Denmark.
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Abnormal behavior
  2. Animal behavior
  3. Animal genetics
  4. Animal housing
  5. Animal roles
  6. Animal welfare
  7. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  8. Deviant behavior
  9. Genetics
  10. Inheritance
  11. Laboratory and experimental animals
  12. Laboratory animal science
  13. Mammals
  14. Rodents
  15. sterotypies
  16. voles