Individual animals differ in their propensity to engage in dangerous situations, or in their risk-taking behavior. There is a heritable basis to some of this variation, but the environment plays an important role in shaping individuals' risk-taking propensity as well. This chapter describes some of the challenges in studying the genetic basis of individual differences in risk-taking behavior, arguing new insights will emerge from studies which take a whole-genome approach and which simultaneously consider both genetic and environmental influences on the behavior. The availability of genomic tools for three-spined stickleback, a small fish renowned for its variable behavior, opens up new possibilities for studying the genetic basis of natural, adaptive variation in risk-taking behavior. After introducing the general biology of sticklebacks, the chapter summarizes the existing literature on the genetic and environmental influences on risk-taking behavior, and describes the overall strategy that our group is taking to identify inherited and environmentally responsive genes related to risk-taking behavior in this species. Insights gleaned from such studies will be relevant to our understanding of similar behaviors in other organisms, including ourselves.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Title of host publication||Advances in genetics|
|Number of pages||22|
|State||Published - 2009|
ASJC Scopus subject areas