Center for Behavioral Neuroscience (CBN) researchers have demonstrated that genetically identical mice placed in different environments both pre- and post-natally differ dramatically as adults in their stress responses and learning abilities. The finding, reported in the May issue of Nature Neuroscience, suggests that pre- and post-natal maternal environments, when taken together, play a strong role in determining the stress profile and cognitive development of genetically identical mice.
In the study led by Darlene Francis, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow at Emory Universitys Yerkes National Primate Research Center, and Thomas Insel, MD, former director of the CBN and current director of the National Institute of Mental Health, the scientists selected two in-bred mouse strains known to differ in their stress reactivity (high versus low) and cognitive performance. All the mice within each in-bred strain were identical.
To gauge the influence of different uterine and early-life environments on development, the scientists transferred embryos from recently mated low-stress (B6) female mice to female surrogates from the strain that displayed high-stress reactive profiles (BALBs). For comparison purposes, they also transferred embryos to surrogate females within the same strain.
Holly Korschun | EurekAlert!
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