The identification of genetic loci conferring susceptibility to Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) provides valuable opportunities for understanding its biological basis. A powerful approach for probing the roles of genes within the nervous system is to introduce them into mice. The resulting mouse models may be studied in depth to determine how genes implicated in PWS impact brain function and behavior. With regard to the impact of genes on behavior, limitations currently exist in the sensitivity, accuracy, and efficiency associated with standard behavioral testing procedures. To enhance the extent to which the behavioral impact of genetic factor may be determined, we have developed powerful behavioral assessment methods that address many of these limitations. The methods involve the detailed assessment of the wide array of behaviors that mice exhibit in their home cages. Novel sophisticated bioinformatics approaches are applied to rich behavioral datasets to reveal the impact of genetic factors on patterns of multiple behaviors, including those relating to circadian rhythms, sleep, feeding, physical activity patterns, learning and memory, novelty exploration and social stimuli associated with other animals. Automated monitoring of multiple behaviors will be performed in lines of mice bearing PWSrelated genetic abnormalities. We anticipate that the detailed behavioral assessments obtained in this project will provide novel insights into the manner in which genes associated with PWS alter brain function

and behavior.

Funded Year:


Awarded to:

Laurence Tecott, MD, PhD




University of California, San Francisco