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Press Release 05-096

Variation in Vole Gene is Bellwether for Behavior

Study finds “junk” DNA contributes to animal social interactions

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Changes in microsatellite DNA affect social behavior in male voles.

Random changes that alter the length of microsatellite DNA near the gene for the vasopressin receptor affect social behavior in male voles. A longer microsatellite region resulted in more bonding and care giving.

Credit: Nicolle Rager Fuller, National Science Foundation


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Microsatellite DNA length and social behavior in voles and primates.

The length of a microsatellite DNA region near the vasopressin receptor gene was discovered to have an effect on social behavior in voles. Genome data for this same microsatellite reveals strong similarities in DNA sequences between humans and bonobos (known for its strong social bonds), while DNA of the more-agressive chimpanzees differs from both humans and bonobos in this region.

Credit: Nicolle Rager Fuller, National Science Foundation


Download the high-resolution JPG version of the image. (239 KB)

Use your mouse to right-click (Mac users may need to Ctrl-click) the link above and choose the option that will save the file or target to your computer.