Gene-Environment Interaction Influences Attachment-like Style in Mice

Glenda Lassi, Valter Tucci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


Attachment styles are established soon after birth and form the basis for a healthy psychological life during adulthood. Here, we investigated whether genetic background (i.e., isogenic strains: C57Bl/6N and BALB/c) and parent-of-origin (i.e., reciprocal hybrids) epigenetic effects influence attachment-like styles in mice. We discovered that a specific genetic and epigenetic assortment exerts a role on the development of a secure or insecure attachment-like style. In particular, when biological mothers raise their pups, the attachment-like style is mainly secure, independently of the genetic background. However, when foster mothers raise pups, the attachment-like style can be either secure or insecure, depending on the particular genetic background, and this effect is paternally transmitted. Finally, we observed that secure attachment-like in mice leads to greater sociability during adulthood, while insecure attachment-like leads to reduced sociability. Our study sheds light on gene-environment interactions that shape the attachment-like style early in development and pave the way for a healthy psychological life.

Original languageEnglish
JournalGenes, brain, and behavior
Publication statusPublished - 19 Apr 2017


  • Journal Article

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