Behavioral Research Blog

How an internal clock gene can alter innate behaviors in mice

Posted by G. Smit on Jul 24, 2014

Some might argue that laboratory mice are not the same as wild mice, yet they remain capable of performing the innate, routine behaviors necessary to survive in natural environments, such as courtship, nest-building, and exploratory activities. Still, their ‘non-natural’ (read: laboratory) environment may limit them in the expression of these behaviors, something we recently addressed in these blog posts.

Circadian rhythmicity

The internal circadian clock is of fundamental importance for animals to anticipate recurring events and ensuring basic behaviors, such as  gathering food and building a nest, occur in time. One of the ways we influence the animal’s natural capacity to perform these and other innate behaviors is by altering the light/dark cycle in a laboratory setting.

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Topics: EthoVision XT, mice, Video tracking, circadian rhytmicity, sociability test, marble burying

Why guinea pigs are just like us

Posted by G. Smit on Feb 8, 2014

If zebrafish are the new mice, guinea pigs might be the new rats. According to Kiera-Nicole Lee and her colleagues, guinea pigs differ from mice and rats, and that just might make them more suitable for some neuroscience research due to the fact that these results are more easily translated to humans.

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Topics: EthoVision XT, Video tracking, animal behavior research, home cage, circadian rhytmicity, guinea pigs

Zebrafish research: behavioral differences between wild-type strains

Posted by G. Smit on Aug 20, 2013

Often in animal research, animals with a certain genetic alteration are compared to a “wild-type” (this being the ‘normal’ rat, mouse, or zebrafish). One might assume that there is no difference between one wild-type animal and the next, but in fact, many different strains of wild-type animals are used.

Many wild-type zebrafish strains
The same is true for zebrafish. Many studies talk of wild-type animals, but the strain is not always mentioned. Furthermore, wild-type fish can be acquired at the pet shop, from a commercial scientific supplier, or simply caught in the wild. Vignet et al. noticed that there have been reports of differences in behavior between wild-type strains, and therefore they stress the importance of matching the most appropriate strain to the behavioral test.

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Topics: EthoVision XT, Video tracking, fish, zebrafish, exploratory behavior, learning and memory, anxiety research, circadian rhytmicity, T-maze, color discrimination, novel tank test, light/dark challenge, bottom dwelling

Circadian rhythmicity and other behavioral studies at the Department of Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience (Washington State University)

Posted by G. Smit on Jul 9, 2013

Many labs use video tracking software to increase the efficiency of their research. In fact, EthoVision XT video tracking software has just reached an impressive milestone: 2000 sites worldwide. I spoke with Dr. Ilia Karatsoreos, who placed the order, and found out that he was helping to furnish a completely new facility at the Washington State University, and does some very interesting research. (Image courtesy of Lara Swimmer Photography.)

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Topics: EthoVision XT, Morris water maze, mice, Video tracking, social behavior research, Parkinson's Disease, open field test, anxiety research, rats, elevated plus maze, CatWalk XT, circadian rhytmicity, metabolic disorder, sleep disorder, obesitas

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