Impulsive choice in mice lacking paternal expression of Grb10 suggests intra-genomic conflict in behavior
Imprinted genes are expressed from one parental allele only as a consequence of epigenetic events that take place in the mammalian germ line and are thought to have evolved through intra-genomic conflict between parental alleles. We demonstrate, for the first time, oppositional effects of imprinted genes on brain and behavior. Specifically, here we show that mice lacking paternal Grb10 make fewer impulsive choices, with no dissociable effects on a separate measure of impulsive action. Taken together with previous work showing that mice lacking maternal Nesp55 make more impulsive choices, this suggests that impulsive choice behavior is a substrate for the action of genomic imprinting. Moreover, the contrasting effect of these two genes suggests impulsive choices are subject to intra-genomic conflict, and that maternal and paternal interests pull this behavior in opposite directions. Finally, these data may also indicate that an imbalance in expression of imprinted genes contributes to pathological conditions such as gambling and drug addiction, where impulsive behavior becomes maladaptive.
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