Abstract # 91:

Scheduled for Friday, June 22, 2012 10:45 AM-11:00 AM: Session 12 (Camellia ) Oral Presentation


PHENOTYPIC AND GENETIC CORRELATIONS BETWEEN PLASMA OXYTOCIN AND AFFILIATIVE APPROACH IN VERVET MONKEYS

L. A. Fairbanks1, M. J. Jorgensen2 and K. L. Bales3,4
1UCLA, Department of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences, Semel Institute, Los Angeles, CA 90098, USA, 2Wake Forest University School of Medicine, 3California National Primate Research Center, 4University of California-Davis
line
     Oxytocin is widely believed to promote affiliation in animals and humans, and there is evidence that experimental alteration of central oxytocin activity influences parenting behavior, pair bonding and social cognition. Recent studies have indicated there may also be genetically mediated individual differences in oxytocin function that are related to variation in prosocial behavior. The current study assessed the relationship between plasma oxytocin and social interactions in 164 female vervets (Chlorocebus aethiops sabaeus) living in 12 stable matrilineal social groups at the Vervet Research Colony. Social variables included the number of animals in the group and rates of four behaviors (initiate affiliative approach, receive affiliative approach, grooming, and time near others) recorded in 144 independent samples per individual in the year before and after blood sample collection. Intraclass correlation coefficients indicate that individual differences in these four behaviors are consistent from year to year. The results showed that plasma oxytocin levels were positively related to social group size (r = .42, p<.001) and to the rate of initiating affiliative approaches (r = .23, p<.01). Statistical genetics analyses using the multigenerational colony pedigree demonstrated significant heritability for plasma oxytocin (h2 = .83) and rates of affiliative approach (h2 = .52), and a significant genetic correlation between the two traits (rhoG = .50), indicating that there are common genes that influence peripheral oxytocin levels and affiliative approach behavior.