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Automated multi-day tracking of marked mice for the analysis of social behaviour

Ohayon, Shay and Avni, Ofer and Taylor, Adam L. and Perona, Pietro and Egnor, S. E. Roian (2013) Automated multi-day tracking of marked mice for the analysis of social behaviour. Journal of Neuroscience Methods, 219 (1). pp. 10-19. ISSN 0165-0270. PMCID PMC3762481. doi:10.1016/j.jneumeth.2013.05.013.

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A quantitative description of animal social behaviour is informative for behavioural biologists and clinicians developing drugs to treat social disorders. Social interaction in a group of animals has been difficult to measure because behaviour develops over long periods of time and requires tedious manual scoring, which is subjective and often non-reproducible. Computer-vision systems with the ability to measure complex social behaviour automatically would have a transformative impact on biology. Here, we present a method for tracking group-housed mice individually as they freely interact over multiple days. Each mouse is bleach-marked with a unique fur pattern. The patterns are automatically learned by the tracking software and used to infer identities. Trajectories are analysed to measure behaviour as it develops over days, beyond the range of acute experiments. We demonstrate how our system may be used to study the development of place preferences, associations and social relationships by tracking four mice continuously for five days. Our system enables accurate and reproducible characterisation of wild-type mouse social behaviour and paves the way for high-throughput long-term observation of the effects of genetic, pharmacological and environmental manipulations.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription DOIArticle CentralArticle
Perona, Pietro0000-0002-7583-5809
Additional Information:© 2013 Published by Elsevier B.V. Received 29 March 2013; Received in revised form 29 May 2013; Accepted 30 May 2013. This work is funded by NIH and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)UNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Multiple mice tracking; Long term; Social behaviour; Automated
Issue or Number:1
PubMed Central ID:PMC3762481
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20131017-080808673
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Shay Ohayon, Ofer Avni, Adam L. Taylor, Pietro Perona, S.E. Roian Egnor, Automated multi-day tracking of marked mice for the analysis of social behaviour, Journal of Neuroscience Methods, Volume 219, Issue 1, 30 September 2013, Pages 10-19, ISSN 0165-0270, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:41961
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:17 Oct 2013 21:09
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 04:36

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