Institute for Behavioral Genetics
Campus Box 447
University of Colorado at Boulder
Boulder, CO 80309-0447
I am a first
year graduate student. My current research interests are
focused on the study of ethanol sensitivity through the use of mouse
models. More specifically, I am studying candidate genes for ethanol
sensitive behaviors by studying knockout, transgenic, and congenic strains
The congenic mice were produced by crossing inbred long sleep mice
with inbred short sleep mice. Mice that were LS for a particular region on
a chromosome were then backcrossed for 10 generations to ISS mice, and
mice that were SS for a particular region on a chromosome were then
backcrossed to ILS mice for 10 generations (Bennett & Johnson, 1998). I am
only currently interested in studying the congenics that are LS for a
region on a SS chromosome.
The chromosomal regions referred to above have been named Lore1,
Lore2, Lore4, and Lore5 (Lore stands for Loss Of Righting Reflex to
ethanol) which are quantitative trait loci (QTLs) contributing to the
differences in loss of righting reflex (LORR) between LS and SS mice. The
LORE QTLs were identified using microsatellite markers on LSxSS F2 mice
(Markel et al., 1997).
I am using a variety of measures to examine differential ethanol
sensitivity in the congenic strains of mice. These measures can be broken
down into four different groups of tests.
1) Tolerance: These tests include both acute
and long-term tolerance.
Thelong-term tolerance is assessed by differential LORR between two
hypnotic injections of ethanol given one week apart. Acute tolerance is
assessed after exposure to low doses of ethanol. It is defined as an
increase in performance on some task while blood ethanol concentrations
are still increasing. The performance is typically measured by amount of
time spent on a rotor rod.
2) Locomotor activation: This
is measured as the amount of activity
in an open field. Mice are given low activating doses of ethanol before
they are placed in the open field apparatus.
3) Ataxia: This is measured as the amount of time a mouse
on a rotor rod after being given a low dose of ethanol.
Hypothermia: The temperature of the mice is taken prior to and
several times after being given a hypnotic dose of ethanol.
In addition to testing
the congenics on these measures I am also
testing a variety of neurological knockout mice for differential
sensitivity to ethanol. These neurological knockouts are being tested for
tolerance, the activating effects of ethanol, ataxia, hypothermia, and