Space radiation alters genotype-phenotype correlations in fear learning and memory tests

Ovidiu Dan Iancu, Sydney Weber Boutros, Reid H.J. Olsen, Matthew J. Davis, Blair Stewart, Massarra Eiwaz, Tessa Marzulla, John Belknap, Christina M. Fallgren, Elijah F. Edmondson, Michael M. Weil, Jacob Raber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Behavioral and cognitive traits have a genetic component even though contributions from individual genes and genomic loci are in many cases modest. Changes in the environment can alter genotype-phenotype relationships. Space travel, which includes exposure to ionizing radiation, constitutes environmental challenges and is expected to induce not only dramatic behavioral and cognitive changes but also has the potential to induce physical DNA damage. In this study, we utilized a genetically heterogeneous mouse model, dense genotype data, and shifting environmental challenges, including ionizing radiation exposure, to explore and quantify the size and stability of the genetic component of fear learning and memory-related measures. Exposure to ionizing radiation and other external stressors altered the genotype-phenotype correlations, although different behavioral and cognitive measures were affected to different extents. Utilizing an integrative genomic approach, we identified pathways and functional ontology categories associated with these behavioral and cognitive measures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number404
JournalFrontiers in Genetics
Issue numberOCT
StatePublished - Oct 9 2018


  • Behavioral genetics
  • Fear learning and memory
  • Genotype-phenotype
  • Mice
  • Space radiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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