Why Mouse Behavior?
The etiologies and pathogenesis of many psychiatric, neurological, and endocrinological disorders are unknown. Despite this fact, descriptions of these disorders may involve abnormalities in social interaction, emotion, motivation, learning and memory, and endocrine processes. Although phenomenological criteria are often used to discriminate one psychiatric disorder from another, clinicians, epidemiologists and basic researchers have tried to develop additional criteria for diagnosis. Similar situations also exist for certain neurological and endocrine diseases. One approach has been the attempt to identify genes that may be abnormal in certain human patient populations and model these in mice. Another approach has been to genetically alter the expression of certain genes in rodents and examine these effects on behavior, neurological/psychiatric status, and/or on various endocrine parameters. The ability to identify and characterize these behavioral, psychiatric, neurological, and endocrine phenotypes may provide new insights into the genes and their mechanisms that form the basis of and contribute to psychiatric, neurological, or endocrine illnesses. Additionally, it is anticipated that some of these genetically modified mice will display phenotypes that will recapitulate certain human psychiatric, neurological, or endocrine disorders and these mice may, therefore, provide useful animal models from which to evaluate potential therapies.