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Chimpanzee Personality and the Arginine Vasopressin Receptor 1A Genotype
V. A. D. Wilson, A. Weiss, T. Humle, N. Morimura, T. Udono, G. Idani, T. Matsuzawa, S. Hirata, M. Inoue-Murayama

Polymorphisms of the arginine vasopressin receptor 1a (AVPR1a) gene have been linked to various measures related to human social behavior, including sibling confiict and agreeableness. In chimpanzees, AVPR1a polymorphisms have been associated with traits important for social interactions, including sociability, joint attention, dominance, conscientiousness, and hierarchical personality dimensions named low alpha/stability, disinhibition, and negative emotionality/low dominance. We examined associations between AVPR1a and six personality domains and hierarchical personality dimensions in 129 chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) living in Japan or in a sanctuary in Guinea. We fit three linear and three animal models. The first model included genotype, the second included sex and genotype, and the third included genotype, sex, and sex 9 genotype. All personality phenotypes were heritable. Chimpanzees possessing the long form of the allele were higher in conscientiousness, but only in models that did not include the other predictors; however, additional analyses suggested that this may have been a consequence of study design. In animal models that included sex and sex 9 genotype, chimpanzees homozygous for the short form of the allele were higher in extraversion. Taken with the findings of previous studies of chimpanzees and humans, the findings related to conscientiousness suggest that AVPR1a may be related to lower levels of impulsive aggression. The direction of the association between AVPR1a genotype and extraversion ran counter to what one would expect if AVPR1a was related to social behaviors. These results help us further understand the genetic basis of personality in chimpanzees.

Behav Genet
DOI 10.1007/s10519-016-9822-2
2016/11/04 Primate Research Institute