International Mammalian Genome Society

The 13th International Mouse Genome Conference
October 31-November 3, 1999

Table of Contents * Structure * Bioinformatics * Sequence * Mapping * New Tools * Gene Discovery * Developmental * Mutagenesis * Functional Genomics

E35 Profiling Movement Patterns in the Development of Neurological Mutant Mice

John C. Fentress. Dalhousie University (Nova Scotia) and University of Oregon (Eugene)

Neurological mutant mice provide an incompletely explored opportunity to link genotypes and phenotypes at a variety of levels of organization. In this presentation I focus upon the developmental organization of movement patterns in several strains, with particular emphasis on Weaver, Staggerer, and Jimpy animals. We examine patterns of motor coordination in mutant and control mice from postnatal day one through a series of standardized tests (swimming, grooming, exploration). Our first goal is to seek rules by which individual components of action are differentiated, and then integrated into more complex patterns of expression. To do this, video records of the mice are examined on a frame by frame basis with the aid of computer programs that allow us to examine kinematic details of individual limb segments through protracted action sequences. We are seeking ways to dissect levels of organization. For example, Jimpy mice have disorders that appear to involve the operation of spinal oscillators, Staggerer mice have problems with movement form, and Weaver mice have problems with the sequential ordering of actions.

There is obviously a long and treacherous road from genotype and phenotype in these animals, and we are thus seeking ways to combine experimental manipulations in both control and mutant animals to bring our analyses closer to the level of circuit operations within the nervous system. Although some progress has been made along these lines, much of the interpretation remains ambiguous. My goal in attending this conference is to learn more about mutant strains, transgenics, and knockouts that might be employed in future studies. In this sense I am a student, at the mercy of other conference participants. It is clear that future progress will depend upon behavioral analyses that are as precise as those pursued at the cellular and molecular levels. At the present time the literature in this regard remains disappointing. I hope to show some ways where future progress might be made.


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