Sex-dependent features of social behavior differ between distinct laboratory mouse strains and their mixed offspring

Natalia Kopachev, Shai Netser, Shlomo Wagner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The survival of individuals of gregarious species depends on their social interactions. In humans, atypical social behavior is a hallmark of several psychopathological conditions, many of which have sex-specific manifestations. Various laboratory mouse strains are used to reveal the mechanisms mediating typical and atypical social behavior in mammals. Here, we used three social discrimination tests to characterize social behavior in males and females of three widely used laboratory mouse strains (C57BL/6J, BALB/c, and ICR). We found marked sex- and strain-specific differences in the behavior exhibited by subjects, in a test-dependent manner. Interestingly, some characteristics were strain-dependent, while others were sex-dependent. We then crossbred C57BL/6J and BALB/c mice and found that offspring of such crossbreeding exhibit social behavior which differs from both parental strains and depends on the specific combination of parental strains. Thus, social behavior of laboratory mice is sex- and strain-specific and depends on both genetic and environmental factors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103735
Pages (from-to)103735
Issue number2
StatePublished - 18 Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by ISF-NSFC joint research program (grant No. 3459/20 to SW), the Israel Science Foundation (ISFgrants No. 1350/12 , 1361/17 to SW), the Ministry of Science, Technology and Space of Israel (Grant No. 3-12068 to SW) and the United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSFgrant No. 2019186 to SW).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors


  • Behavioral neuroscience
  • Biological sciences
  • Neuroscience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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