Dad's genes affect dominance

Researchers find that the paternal alleles of an unusual imprinted gene regulate social behavior, while the maternal alleles affect fetal growth

Vanessa Schipani
Jan 25, 2011
Which parent an allele comes from may influence how dominant mice are with their peers, according to a study in the January 27th issue of Nature, providing the first evidence that an imprinted gene may regulate a social behavior.
Grb10 knockout embryos (mom-left; dad-right)
showing opposite imprinting of the parental alleles
in different tissues (expression in blue)

Photo courtesy Alastair Garfield et al and Nature
"I think this paper greatly increases the plausibility of imprinted expression underpinning adult social behavior," linkurl:Tom Moore,; a developmental geneticist at the University College Cork in Ireland who was not involved in the research, said in an email to The Scientist. Normally, offspring inherit two copies of each gene, one from each parent, both of which are expressed at similar levels in the same locations of the body. Imprinted genes, however, come with additional information from the parent of origin. The allele from mom may...
A.S. Garfield et al., "Distinct physiological and behavioural functions for parental alleles of imprinted Grb10," Nature, 469:534-538, 2011.Correction: This article has been updated from a previous version to correctly indicate that "winning" an encounter involves a mouse standing its ground as another mouse backs away and becomes submissive. regrets the error.