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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Two genetic loci control syllable sequences of ultrasonic courtship vocalizations in inbred mice

Hansol Choi, Saegeun Park and Daesoo Kim*

Author Affiliations

Department of Biological Sciences, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), Daejeon, 305-701, Korea

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BMC Neuroscience 2011, 12:104  doi:10.1186/1471-2202-12-104

Published: 21 October 2011



The ultrasonic vocalizations (USV) of courting male mice are known to possess a phonetic structure with a complex combination of several syllables. The genetic mechanisms underlying the syllable sequence organization were investigated.


This study compared syllable sequence organization in two inbred strains of mice, 129S4/SvJae (129) and C57BL6J (B6), and demonstrated that they possessed two mutually exclusive phenotypes. The 129S4/SvJae (129) strain frequently exhibited a "chevron-wave" USV pattern, which was characterized by the repetition of chevron-type syllables. The C57BL/6J strain produced a "staccato" USV pattern, which was characterized by the repetition of short-type syllables. An F1 strain obtained by crossing the 129S4/SvJae and C57BL/6J strains produced only the staccato phenotype. The chevron-wave and staccato phenotypes reappeared in the F2 generations, following the Mendelian law of independent assortment.


These results suggest that two genetic loci control the organization of syllable sequences. These loci were occupied by the staccato and chevron-wave alleles in the B6 and 129 mouse strains, respectively. Recombination of these alleles might lead to the diversity of USV patterns produced by mice.