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Molecular and genetic analyses of a multivariate system specifying behavior and life span.

Johnson TE

Citation: Behavior Genetics 16: 221-235 1986



Abstract: Recombinant inbred (RI) lines have been constructed by crossing the Bristol and Bergerac BO strains of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. The F1 hermaphroditic progeny are allowed to self-fertilize for 20 generations, yielding the RI lines. Heritability estimates for several behavioral traits and for life span, as well as both phenotypic and genetic covariance estimates for these traits, have been obtained. Significant heritablility is detected only for forward movement. Large genetic covariances are detected between different behavioral components, corroborating earlier studies based on observations of sterotypical behaviors in nematodes. A strain distribution pattern (SDP) has been generated using genetic loci defined both by mutation and by restriction fragment length polymorphisms. Estimates of the number of loci affecting the life span range from three to six; these estimates were obtained both by classic quantitative techniques and by mapping, using the SDP for these RI lines. Thus, loci specifying life span are distributed throughout the genome rather than localized to any one region. EMS-induced, long-lived (Age) mutants were also examined. In contrast to an earlier report, these mutants ingest normal amounts of food. The age locus of one strain, MK546, segregates independently of a behavioral alteration which was coinduced in the original mutant hunt.