Abstract # 169:

Scheduled for Friday, June 19, 2015 05:00 PM-05:15 PM: (Cascade E) Oral Presentation


SEROTONIN TRANSPORTER AND MATERNAL CARE: A SEX-SPECIFIC G X E EFFECT ON JUVENILE SOCIAL PLAY IN FREE-RANGING RHESUS MACAQUES OF CAYO SANTIAGO

J. E. Madrid1, T. M. Mandalaywala2, S. P. Coyne2, J. P. Garner1, C. S. Barr3, D. Maestripieri2 and K. J. Parker1
1Stanford University, 1201 Welch Road, MSLS, Room P-124, Stanford , CA 94305, USA, 2The University of Chicago, 3National Institute of Health
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     Individuals carrying a shortened (S) allele in the promoter region of the serotonin transporter gene (5HTLLPR) display depressive or anxious phenotypes following early social adversity. However, because both human and macaque populations have persistent S alleles, the common psychiatric interpretation that the S allele is universally pathogenic seems unlikely. We hypothesize that S alleles are maintained under stabilizing selection from Gene x Environment (GxE) interactions which are adaptive in particular environments. Here we tested the prediction that a GxE interaction between 5HTLLPR genotypes and maternal care benefits S carriers in terms of social competence measured by play behavior. Subjects were N=42 free-ranging rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) offspring on Cayo Santiago, PR. We recorded mother-infant interactions during the first 12 weeks of infant life, genotyped the offspring, and recorded juvenile play behavior between 16-24 months of age. Maternal care interacted with 5HTLLPR genotypes and offspring sex, such that compared to lengthened allele (LL) homozygotes of all maternal types, male S allele carriers who received more maternal care subsequently displayed more social play (Wald Chi-Square = 16.09; P < 0.0001), and male S allele carriers that received less maternal care displayed less social play (Wald Chi-Square = 18.71; P < 0.0001). The S allele is thus not universally deleterious, but confers elevated social competence to male offspring provided high amounts of maternal care.