QTL analysis of behavior in nine-spined sticklebacks (Pungitius pungitius)

Veronika N. Laine, Gábor Herczeg, Takahito Shikano, Johanna Vilkki, Juha Merilä

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)


The genetic architecture of behavioral traits is yet relatively poorly understood in most non-model organisms. Using an F2-intercross (n = 283 offspring) between behaviorally divergent nine-spined stickleback (Pungitius pungitius) populations, we tested for and explored the genetic basis of different behavioral traits with the aid of quantitative trait locus (QTL) analyses based on 226 microsatellite markers. The behaviors were analyzed both separately (viz. feeding activity, risk-taking and exploration) and combined in order to map composite behavioral type. Two significant QTL - explaining on average 6 % of the phenotypic variance - were detected for composite behavioral type on the experiment-wide level, located on linkage groups 3 and 8. In addition, several suggestive QTL located on six other linkage groups were detected on the chromosome-wide level. Apart from providing evidence for the genetic basis of behavioral variation, the results provide a good starting point for finer-scale analyses of genetic factors influencing behavioral variation in the nine-spined stickleback.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-88
Number of pages12
JournalBehavior Genetics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2014


  • Behavior
  • Fish
  • Microsatellite
  • Personality
  • QTL
  • Stickleback

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)

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