Quantitative trait loci (QTL) for circadian rhythms of locomotor activity in mice

John R. Hofstetter, Aimee R. Mayeda, Bernard Possidente, John I. Nurnberger

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55 Scopus citations


The loomotor activity of male mice (Mus musculus) was monitored by infrared photoelectric beams under three lighting regimens: LD (12 h of light and 12 h of dark), DD (constant dark), and LL (constant broad-spectrum light, 10 lux). Circadian period of locomotor activioty (τ) was compared among 3 inbred strains of mice, C57BL/6J (B6), BALB/c (C), and DBA/2J (D2), and 26 recombinant inbred strains B×D (B6×D2). the τ under both continuous low-intensity light and continuous darkenss varied significantly among strains. Under DD the mean τ was 23.8 h for B6, 23.7 h for D2, and 23.6 h for C. Under LL the mean τ was 25.1 for B6, 23.9 h for D2, and 25.5 h for C. Frequency histograms of the mean τ of 26B×D RI mouse strains (three to seven animals per strain) in either DD or LL and the difference between them, Δτ, had distributions which appeared unimodal, suggesting polygenic inheritances. The narrow-sense heritability determined using 26 strains of B×D RI mice was about 55% for τ and about 38% for both τ in LL and Δτ. An estimated four loci contribute to the variance of τ in constant darkness and five to the variance of τ in constant low-intensity light among the strains studied. Quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis identified several potential genetic loci associated with τ in constant darkness, τ in constant low-intensity light, and Δτ. The associations of highest probability for each of these traits were the D1Nds4 locus (p<0.001) on mouse chromosome 1, the D5Ncvs52 locus (p<.05) on mouse chromosome 5, and the Pmv12 locus (p<.01) at 70 cM on mouse chromosome 5, respectively. A QTL identified for τ was associated (p<.05) with the D2NDS1 marker at 45 cM on chromsome 2 near the Ea 6 marker at 46 cM associated (p<.05) with that reported for the period of wheel running activity in seven C×B RI strains (Schwartz, W. J., and Zimmerman, P., J. Neurosci.10:3685 1990).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)545-556
Number of pages12
JournalBehavior Genetics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 1995


  • circadian rhythms
  • genetics
  • light
  • locomotor activity
  • quantitative trait loci
  • Recombinant inbred mouse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Genetics

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