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Displacement behaviors in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes): A neurogenomics investigation of the RDoC Negative Valence Systems domain

, : Displacement behaviors in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes): A neurogenomics investigation of the RDoC Negative Valence Systems domain. Psychophysiology 53(3): 355-363

The current study aimed to systematically investigate genetic and neuroanatomical correlates of individual variation in scratching behaviors, a well-validated animal-behavioral indicator of negative emotional states with clear links to the NIMH Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) response to potential harm ("anxiety") construct within the Negative Valence Systems domain. Utilizing data from a sample of 76 captive chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), we (a) examined the association between scratching and presence or absence of the RS3-containing DupB element in the AVPR1A 5' flanking region, (b) utilized voxel-based morphometry (VBM) to identify gray matter (GM) voxel clusters that differentiated AVPR1A genotype, and (c) conducted a VBM-guided voxel-of-interest analysis to examine the association between GM intensity and scratching. AVPR1A evidenced sexually dimorphic associations with scratching. VBM analyses revealed significant differences in GM by genotype across twelve clusters largely in the frontal cortex. Regions differentiating AVPR1A genotype showed sex-specific associations with scratching. Results suggest that sexually dimorphic associations between AVPR1A and scratching may be explained by genotype-specific neuroanatomical variation. The current study provides an example of the way in which chimpanzee research is uniquely poised for multilevel, systematic investigations of psychopathology-relevant constructs within the context of the RDoC framework.


PMID: 26877126

DOI: 10.1111/psyp.12449

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