Family way

Nurturing instincts of mice linked to genes from fathers

source: Philip Cohen
New Scientist April 17 1999 p17

Mice with defective Peg3 genes have been found to gather straying pups more slowly than average, and build nests more slowly. The gene also affects neuronal development, which in turn affects reactions to oxytocin, a hormone that induces maternal behaviour and lactation. The Peg3 gene is an imprinted gene, only one copy of which is found to be active in mice, which usually have two copies of genes, one from each parent. The research was carried out by University of Cambridge researchers, Eric Keverne and Azim Surani, who have previously discovered that a different, and unrelated gene, Mest, which mice inherit from their fathers, affects maternal behaviour.