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Exploring the Genetic Background of the Differences in Nest-Building Behavior in European Rabbit.

Authors
  • Benedek, Ildikó1
  • Altbӓcker, Vilmos1
  • Zsolnai, Attila2
  • Molnár, Tamás1
  • 1 Institute of Environmental Sciences and Nature Conservation, Szent István University, Kaposvár Campus, 7400 Kaposvár, Hungary. , (Hungary)
  • 2 Research Institute for Animal Breeding, Nutrition and Meat Science, 2053 Herceghalom, Hungary. , (Hungary)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Animals : an open access journal from MDPI
Publication Date
Sep 04, 2020
Volume
10
Issue
9
Identifiers
DOI: 10.3390/ani10091579
PMID: 32899658
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Once a day, nursing and absentee mothering make the wild rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) an ideal model animal for measuring differences in maternal behavior. Behavioral events and their hormonal regulation leading to parturition are well documented; however, the genetic background behind individual differences in this complex process is unknown. Decreased progesterone hormone level and the reduction of progesterone receptor activity are crucial to initiating the collection of nest material. The progesterone receptor gene is a likely candidate affecting nest-building behavior. In addition to several known point mutations in the progesterone receptor gene of the European wild rabbit, we have found a new mutation in the promoter region of the gene at 2682 T > C. Although this new single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) was not involved in the formation of the nest-building behavior, an SNP (2464G > A) already described in the promoter region showed an association with individual differences in the initiation of hay carrying. The distribution of this SNP delivered an opposite result compared to domestic rabbits. Genotype (GG) with high uterine capacity was most frequent; the hereditary value of the trait was h2 = 0.10. Thus, progesterone receptor gene polymorphism may manifest in individual differences affecting breeding success in this species.

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