Validation of a Novel Marking System to Enhance Automated Behavioral Phenotyping in Mice
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There is an increasing need to move to automated, computer-driven detection software to measure mouse behavior. In a prior study, we identified a method for marking and identifying multiple mice for tracking in the Reciprocal Social Interaction (RSI) task by placing a powder-based pigment (i.e. Hair Chalk) on the backs of each mouse. While this approach successfully maintained tracking using Ethovision XT software, it remains unknown whether this method interferes with species-typical behaviors. Specifically, the application method, sensation of the powder, and scent of the Hair Chalk may be variables disrupting social or anxiety-like behaviors. To test this, mice were placed through three behavioral tasks to measure scent motivation, grooming behavior and anxiety levels in response to the presence of Hair Chalk. Results indicate no differences in all behaviors measured, suggesting that this marking system is not interfering with species typical behavior.