Complex Economic Behavior Patterns Are Constructed from Finite, Genetically Controlled Modules of Behavior

Publication date: 13 August 2019Source: Cell Reports, Volume 28, Issue 7Author(s): Cornelia N. Stacher Hörndli, Eleanor Wong, Elliott Ferris, Kathleen Bennett, Susan Steinwand, Alexis Nikole Rhodes, P. Thomas Fletcher, Christopher GreggSummaryComplex ethological behaviors could be constructed from finite modules that are reproducible functional units of behavior. Here, we test this idea for foraging and develop methods to dissect rich behavior patterns in mice. We uncover discrete modules of foraging behavior reproducible across different strains and ages, as well as nonmodular behavioral sequences. Modules differ in terms of form, expression frequency, and expression timing and are expressed in a probabilistically determined order. Modules shape economic patterns of feeding, exposure, activity, and perseveration responses. The modular architecture of foraging changes developmentally, and different developmental, genetic, and parental effects are found to shape the expression of specific modules. Dissecting modules from complex patterns is powerful for phenotype analysis. We discover that both parental alleles of the imprinted Prader-Willi syndrome gene Magel2 are functional in mice but regulate different modules. Our study found that complex economic patterns are built from finite, genetically controlled modules.Graphical Abstract
Source: Cell Reports - Category: Cytology Source Type: research

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