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Pregnancy Timeline by SemestersFetal liver is producing blood cellsHead may position into pelvisBrain convolutions beginFull TermWhite fat begins to be madeWhite fat begins to be madeHead may position into pelvisImmune system beginningImmune system beginningPeriod of rapid brain growthBrain convolutions beginLungs begin to produce surfactantSensory brain waves begin to activateSensory brain waves begin to activateInner Ear Bones HardenBone marrow starts making blood cellsBone marrow starts making blood cellsBrown fat surrounds lymphatic systemFetal sexual organs visibleFinger and toe prints appearFinger and toe prints appearHeartbeat can be detectedHeartbeat can be detectedBasic Brain Structure in PlaceThe Appearance of SomitesFirst Detectable Brain WavesA Four Chambered HeartBeginning Cerebral HemispheresFemale Reproductive SystemEnd of Embryonic PeriodEnd of Embryonic PeriodFirst Thin Layer of Skin AppearsThird TrimesterSecond TrimesterFirst TrimesterFertilizationDevelopmental Timeline
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Home | Pregnancy Timeline | News Alerts | News Archive July 8, 2013

 
Female mice with greater life expectancy are less active and less
explorative than their fellow females with lower life expectancy.






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Long-lived mice are less active

Risky behavior can lead to premature death – in humans. Scientists investigated whether this also applies to animals by studying the behavior of the house mouse.

Anna Lindholm and her doctoral student Yannick Auclair investigated the behavior of 82 house mice. They recorded boldness, activity level, exploration tendency and energy intake of female and male house mice with two different allelic variants on chromosome 17, thereby testing predictions of "life-history theory" on how individuals invest optimally in growth and reproduction.


According to "life-history theory," individuals with a greater life expectancy have reactive personality traits and will be shy, less active and less explorative than individuals with a lower survival expectation.


Is personality reflected in life expectancy?

Female mice of the t haplotype, one of the two genetic variants on chromosome 17, are known to live longer. The t haplotype found in house mice is a naturally occurring selfish genetic element that is transmitted to 90 percent of the offspring by t carrying males.


Embryos that inherit a t gene from each parent die before birth.


With his experiment, Yannick Auclair wanted to investigate whether there was a correlation between this selfish genetic element and the personality of the mice.

Live fast, die young – even in mice

The researchers reveal that the longer-lived t haplotype females are less active than the shorter-lived non-carrier females. They consume less food, explore less and have reactive personality traits which favor cautiousness and energy conservation, as predicted by theory.

"For the first time, we report personality traits associated with a selfish gene element that influences life expectancy" says Auclair. According to the research team, female mice with a longer life expectancy follow the strategy "live slow, die old" whereas those with a shorter life expectancy live according to the principle "live fast, die young."

In contrast to the predictions of the "life-history" theory, there are no extremely slow individuals among t haplotype female mice. The researchers suppose that selection does not favor mice that are too cautious. "In order for a mouse to find food and be able to reproduce, clearly a minimum level of boldness is required," explains Auclair. "In such a situation, large variation can not develop - and promote the species."

Literature:
Yannick Auclair, Barbara König, Anna K. Lindholm. A selfish genetic element influencing longevity correlates with reactive behavioural traits in female house mice. PLoS ONE. June 24, 2013. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0067130.

Original press release:http://www.mediadesk.uzh.ch/articles/2013/langlebige-maeuse-sind-weniger-aktiv_en.html