Microsatellite Instability Generates Diversity in Brain and Sociobehavioral Traits

  title={Microsatellite Instability Generates Diversity in Brain and Sociobehavioral Traits},
  author={Elizabeth A. D. Hammock and Larry J. Young},
  pages={1630 - 1634}
Repetitive microsatellites mutate at relatively high rates and may contribute to the rapid evolution of species-typical traits. We show that individual alleles of a repetitive polymorphic microsatellite in the 5′ region of the prairie vole vasopressin 1a receptor (avpr1a) gene modify gene expression in vitro. In vivo, we observe that this regulatory polymorphism predicts both individual differences in receptor distribution patterns and socio-behavioral traits. These data suggest that individual… 
Balancing selection maintains polymorphisms at neurogenetic loci in field experiments
It is shown that the length of microsatellites located in the 5′ regulatory regions of Avpr1a and Oxtr are associated with reproductive success and gene expression in the brain, and balancing selection through sexually antagonistic fitness effects and density-related social influences is capable of maintaining microsatellite length polymorphisms at both genes.
High variability and non-neutral evolution of the mammalian avpr1a gene
High sequence diversity between higher mammalian taxa as well as between species of the genus Microtus is detected and the importance of considering variation in the coding sequence of avpr1a in regards to associations with life history traits of voles, other mammals and humans in particular is stressed.
AVPR1A Variation in Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes): Population Differences and Association with Behavioral Style
The results indicated that the AVPR1A long allele was associated with a “smart” social personality in captive western chimpanzees, independent of testosterone levels, highlighting the need for comparative studies —across subspecies and research sites— in primate behavioral genetics.
From endophenotypes to evolution: social attachment, sexual fidelity and the avpr1a locus
  • S. Phelps
  • Biology, Psychology
    Current Opinion in Neurobiology
  • 2010
Polymorphism at the avpr1a locus in male prairie voles correlated with genetic but not social monogamy in field populations
The relationship between avpr1a length polymorphism and monogamy among male prairie voles living in 0.1 ha enclosures during a time similar to their natural lifespan is examined, showing that melding ecological field studies with neurogenetics can substantially augment the understanding of the effects of genes and environment on social behaviours.
Individual Differences in Social Behavior and Cortical Vasopressin Receptor: Genetics, Epigenetics, and Evolution
Recent work on individual differences in the expression of the vasopressin 1a receptor (V1aR), a major regulator of social behavior, in the neocortex of the socially monogamous prairie vole, provides insight into how genetic, epigenetic and evolutionary forces interact to shape the social brain.
Promoter microsatellites as modulators of human gene expression.
It is suggested that promoter microsatellites, especially those that are highly conserved, may be an important source of human phenotypic variation.
Evolution of a behavior-linked microsatellite-containing element in the 5' flanking region of the primate AVPR1A gene
There is no obvious relationship between the presence of the RS3 duplication and social organization in primates, and pharmacological and genetic association studies support a potential role for this region in influencing V1aR expression and social behavior.
Mating system and avpr1a promoter variation in primates
It is suggested that such non-repetitive variation, either in indels or in sequence variation, are likely to be important in explaining interspecific variation in avpr1a expression.
Stabilizing selection on microsatellite allele length at arginine vasopressin 1a receptor and oxytocin receptor loci
Breeding trials show how genetic variation at microsatellite loci associated with avpr1a and oxtr is associated with fitness, and highlight complex patterns of selection at these loci, and show how stabilizing selection might act on allele length frequency distributions at gene-associated micros satellite loci.


Functional microsatellite polymorphism associated with divergent social structure in vole species.
The functional role of a microsatellite segment in the 5' region of V1aR that differs significantly between monogamous and nonmonogamous vole species with divergent V 1aR expression patterns is examined to suggest that significant evolutionary changes in social behavior can occur through variation in regulatory regions of genes already involved in social Behavior.
Variation in the vasopressin V1a receptor promoter and expression: implications for inter‐ and intraspecific variation in social behaviour *
The prairie vole vasopressin V1a receptor gene is discussed as a model that may be useful for understanding the evolution of promoter sequences and the relationship between gene sequence, expression and behavioural phenotype.
Molecular origins of rapid and continuous morphological evolution
  • J. Fondon, H. Garner
  • Biology
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
  • 2004
A comparative genomic study of repetitive elements in developmental genes of 92 breeds of dogs finds evidence for selection for divergence at coding repeat loci in the form of both elevated purity and extensive length polymorphism among different breeds.
Species differences in V1a receptor gene expression in monogamous and nonmonogamous voles: behavioral consequences.
Using in situ hybridization in 2 species of voles with strikingly different patterns of V1a binding sites and social behaviors, it is demonstrated that differences in V 1a receptor binding sites are due to species differences in regional V1A receptor gene expression.
Transmission disequilibrium testing of arginine vasopressin receptor 1A (AVPR1A) polymorphisms in autism
Comparison of species-specific evidence for a role in inter-species variation in social behavior and whether within the authors' own species, variation in the human AVPR1A may contribute to individual variations in socialbehavior is explored.
Extraordinary diversity in vasopressin (V1a) receptor distributions among wild prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster): Patterns of variation and covariation
The data indicate that the prairie vole would be a useful model for exploring how individual differences in gene expression influence complex social behaviors, and suggests that shared mechanisms of transcriptional regulation may limit the patterns of gene expression.
Increased affiliative response to vasopressin in mice expressing the V1a receptor from a monogamous vole
It is shown that centrally administered arginine vasopressin increases affiliative behaviour in the highly social, monogamous prairie vole, but not in the relatively asocial, promiscuous montane vole.
Enhanced partner preference in a promiscuous species by manipulating the expression of a single gene
It is shown that a change in the expression of a single gene in the larger context of pre-existing genetic and neural circuits can profoundly alter social behaviour, providing a potential molecular mechanism for the rapid evolution of complex social behaviour.
Microsatellites within genes: structure, function, and evolution.
SSRs within genes evolve through mutational processes similar to those for SSRs located in other genomic regions including replication slippage, point mutation, and recombination and may provide a molecular basis for fast adaptation to environmental changes in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes.