COPING IN FEMALE MICE FROM LINES BIDIRECTIONALLY SELECTED FOR MALE AGGRESSION

in Behaviour
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Abstract

In male house mice, differences have been reported in behavioural strategies to cope with challenges. These differences are related to a differentiation in territorial aggression. In the present study it was investigated whether consistent differences exist in response to challenges among female mice. For this purpose, females from lines selected for male s hort and l ong a ttack l atency in a resident-intruder paradigm were used. SAL females were significantly and consistently more prone to engage a non-social challenge than LAL females, both during development as in adulthood. This was measured in an unfamiliar object test and an open field test. To assess the response of females to social challenges, SAL and LAL dams were confronted with an intruder at regular intervals during the lactation period. SAL as well as LAL dams showed very short attack latencies and there were no differences between SAL and LAL mice. It is suggested that the pup protection function of maternal aggression does not allow the development of significant variation in maternal aggression. This infers that maternal aggression is not a suited parameter to assess the response of female mice to a social challenge.

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