Abstract # 84:

Scheduled for Thursday, June 20, 2013 07:00 PM-09:00 PM: Session 9 (SG Foyer ABC) Poster Presentation


GENETIC VARIANTS IN VASOPRESSIN RECEPTOR (AVPR1A) ARE LINKED TO SUCCESSFUL COMPLETION OF A NOVEL TRAINING TASK IN CAPTIVE CHIMPANZEES (PAN TROGLODYTES)

L. A. Reamer1, R. L. Haller1, E. J. Thiele1, S. P. Lambeth1, S. J. Schapiro1,2, A. C. Keebaugh3,4,5, L. J. Young3,4,5 and W. D. Hopkins6,7
1Michale E. Keeling Center for Comparative Medicine and Research, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, 650 Cool Water Dr., Bastrop, TX 78602, USA, 2Department of Experimental Medicine, University of Copenhagen and University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark, 3Center for Translational Social Neuroscience, Yerkes National Primate Research Center, USA, 4Division of Behavioral Neuroscience and Psychiatric Disorders, Yerkes National Primate Research Center, USA, 5Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30329, USA, 6Division of Developmental and Cognitive Neuroscience, Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Atlanta, Georgia, 7Neuroscience Institute and Language Research Center, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia
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     Chimpanzees have a particular polymorphic indel (DupB) in the 5’ flanking region of the arginine vasopressin V1a receptor gene (AVPR1A). Approximately, 1/3 of the apes have a deletion of a portion of the RS3 coding region resulting in two genetically distinct groups of individuals (DupB+/- and DupB-/-). One recent study assessed the AVPR1A region in chimpanzees revealing significant differences in receptive joint attention in DupB+/- compared to DupB-/- genotyped subjects. Given that positive reinforcement training requires the effective use of both joint attention and socio-communicative cues between trainer (human) and trainee (chimpanzee), the current study examined effects of AVPR1A on compliance with a novel training task in 141 captive chimpanzees. Each subject was asked, one time, to complete a novel, complex behavior chain (capillary blood sampling), then rated as completely passing, partially passing or failing. Success in the task was significantly associated with the AVPR1A genotypes (?2=7.703, df=2, p<0.05). Subjects who cooperated with their human trainer were approximately twice as likely to have the DupB+/- genotype (43%) compared to their DupB-/- counterparts (20%). This suggests that chimpanzees with the DupB coding region are more likely to cooperate with their human trainers to successfully complete a novel social cognition training task. These results provide important insights into the role of gene effects on social behavior, specifically social cognition and trainability, of captive chimpanzees.