Abstract # 13371 Poster # 159:

Scheduled for Friday, August 23, 2019 06:00 PM-08:00 PM: (Alumni Lounge) Poster Presentation


POLYMORPHISMS IN VASOPRESSIN V1A RECEPTOR GENE (AVPR1A) ARE ASSOCIATED WITH PLAY, AFFILIATIVE, AND EXPLORATORY BEHAVIOR IN CHIMPANZEES (PAN TROGLODYTES)

S. J. Neal Webb1,2, S. J. Schapiro1,2 and W. D. Hopkins1
1The UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, Michale E. Keeling Center for Comparative Medicine and Research, NCCC, 650 Cool Water Drive, Bastrop, TX 78602, USA, 2University of Copenhagen
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     Vasopressin is a neuropeptide that regulates within- and between-species variation of social behavior among mammals. Previous studies in chimpanzees have found that polymorphisms in the vasopressin V1a receptor gene, AVPR1A, are associated with different dimensions of personality and measures of social cognition. For example, the minor allele is associated with higher social cognition and a higher likelihood to initiate play and receive grooming, whereas the major allele (particularly in males) is associated with lower dominance and affiliation. Here, rather than use personality as a proxy measure of social behavior, we tested whether chimpanzees with different AVPR1A polymorphisms differed in social behaviors measured using observational methods. Focal observations of social behavior and AVPR1A genotype data were obtained from 116 captive chimpanzees. We found that chimpanzees with the major AVPR1A allele exhibited significantly more social play [F(1,109)=4.42, p=0.038], affiliation [F(1,109)=4.85, p=0.03], and less object exploration [F(1,109)=4.43, p=0.04] than individuals with the minor allele. The higher play and affiliative behavior exhibited by chimpanzees with the major allele suggests that these individuals may be more sociable. This contrasts with previous findings from personality studies that show lower sociability and friendliness scores (including lower grooming, affiliation, and play ratings) in chimpanzees with this genotype. Regardless, these results partially validate previous studies showing significant relationships between personality and AVPR1A variation, and differ from previous findings in rhesus monkeys.