The effects of selection of agouti rats (with genotype AAHH) on the tame and aggressive behavior and dietary methyl given to females from the eighth day of pregnancy to the fifth day after the birth of the offspring on the intensity of the agouti coat color in the offspring have been studied. The morphometric parameters of hair determining the darkness of the agouti color (the total length of guard hairs, the lengths of their eumelanin end and pheomelanin band, the ratio between the lengths of the eumelanin and pheomelanin portions of the hair, the total length of the awn hairs, and the relative length of their widened “lanceolate” upper end) have been compared. It has been found that selection of agouti rats for aggressive behavior is accompanied by darkening of the coat color compared to tame rats due to an increase in the ratio of the length of the black eumelanin end of the guard hairs to the length of the yellow pheomelanin band. Methyl-containing additives to the diet of females affect the intensity of the agouti coat color in the offsprings with both types of behavior, but to different extents. Aggressive offspring is more sensitive to the mother’s methyl-containing diet: the percentage of animals that are darker than control rats is higher among aggressive animals than among tame ones due to a greater increase in the ratio between dark and light portions of hairs. The possible mechanisms of differences in the phenotypic modifications of coat color in control and experimental agouti rats with different types of behavior are discussed.
Russian Journal of Genetics – Springer Journals
Published: May 17, 2009
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