Abstract # 70:

Scheduled for Thursday, August 18, 2005 07:00 PM-09:00 PM: (Cambridge/Oxford Room) Poster Presentation

Monoamine Oxidase A Promoter Variants and Early Life Experiences Modulate Response to Novel Human Stimuli in Rhesus Macaque

G. M. Karere1,2,3, E. L. Kinnally2, J. P. Capitanio2 and L. A. Lyons1,2
1Department of Population Health & Reproduction, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616, USA, 2California National Primate Research Center, 3Institute of Primate Research, Kenya
     Accumulating evidence supports the role of gene, environment, and their interaction in influencing personality traits. Studies suggest that allelic variants of the monoamine oxidase A (MAO A) gene promoter interact with early life experiences to modulate aggressive behavior in mice and primates. We investigated the interaction of MAO A gene promoter genotype and rearing experiences on behavioral responses of 3-4 month-old rhesus infants from the colony of the California National Primate Research Center. Monkeys were reared in the nursery, or with mothers in half-acre field cages, corncribs, or indoor housing. Behavioral responses to a ‘human intruder’ were recorded and included threats, cage-shaking and barking, which were combined into a composite index of aggressive behavior. Infants (N = 660) were genotyped for allelic size variants of MAO A gene promoter using ABI fluorescent technology. Based on reported transcription activity of these alleles, animals were classified as possessing either the low or high activity variants. Genotype showed a significant interaction with rearing conditions (P < 0.05) in influencing aggressive behavior in the rhesus macaque. Mother-reared infants with high activity MAO A alleles were more socially aggressive than individuals with low activity allele. We conclude that behavioral development is sensitive to early maternal interactions, social experiences and allelic variation in MAO A.