Little epistasis for anxiety-related measures in the DeFries strains of laboratory mice.
Flint J., DeFries JC., Henderson ND.
Recent advances in methodologies for testing epistatic interactions, combined with several successes in demonstrating genetic interaction effects in animal and human genetics, have rekindled interest in the role of epistatic influences on complex traits. It has even been suggested that the unacknowledged presence of epistasis vitiates the genetic dissection of human and animal behavior. Here we report a genome-wide interaction analysis of 1636 F2 mice to show that epistasis is of minimal importance in an animal model of anxiety. By using a sufficiently large sample of F2 animals, we provide evidence that interaction effects between any two loci contribute less than 5% to the total phenotypic variance in multiple tests of anxiety. We conclude that interactions between loci do not necessarily vitiate the genetic analysis of behavior in at least one animal model of anxiety.