Human alcohol abuse and alcoholism have clear developmental features, suggesting the possibility of changes over time in heritability and in quantitative genetic architecture, and raising prospects of identifying individual genes or quantitative trait loci (QTLs) that display different influence on alcohol-related phenotypes at different ages. The identification of specific loci showing such age-related changes will open up opportunities of focused association studies and of genotype manipulation by various mating procedures. Most animal model research in alcohol assesses the phenotypes of the animals at an early age; developmental studies are rare. Here we report on a QTL on Chromosome (Chr) 15 of the mouse that has been shown in several populations, including BXD recombinant inbred strains, an F2, and genotypically selected lines, to affect a measure of alcohol consumption. In the present study, we measured alcohol acceptance in the genotypically selected animals and in an F4 sample at about 100 days and again at about 300 days of age. In both groups, and in both sexes, significant differences were observed at 100 days between animals that were homozygous for the 'increasing' haplotype defining the QTL region and those homozygous for the 'decreasing' haplotype. At 300 days of age, the effect is absent in females and has diminished or disappeared in males. The results provide a further confirmation of the Chr 15 QTL in young mice, offer a new perspective on the development of alcohol-related phenotypes, and have strong implications for research design.
ASJC Scopus subject areas