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Medial amygdala ERα expression influences monogamous behavior of male prairie voles in the field


Lambert, Connor (2021), Medial amygdala ERα expression influences monogamous behavior of male prairie voles in the field, Dryad, Dataset,


Formation of long-term pair-bonds is a complex process, involving multiple neural circuits, and is context- and experience-dependent. While laboratory studies using prairie voles have identified the involvement of several neural mechanisms, efforts to translate these findings into predictable field outcomes have been ambiguous at best. Here we test the hypothesis that inhibition of estrogen receptor alpha (ERα) in the medial amygdala of male prairie voles would significantly increase the expression of social monogamy in the field. Prairie vole populations of equal sex ratio were established in outdoor enclosures with males bred to overexpress ERα and display reduced prosocial behavior. Medial amygdala ERα expression was knocked down in half the males per population. Knockdown-males displayed a greater degree of social monogamy in five of the eight indices assessed. This study demonstrates the robust nature of ERα in playing a critical role in the expression of male social monogamy in a field setting.


The data uploaded includes: 1) the trapping data- the date, location, and ID of voles trapped at specific sites; 2) the radiotracking data, with the date, GPS location, and ID of voles; 3) parentage data of all offspring trapped in the enclosures; and 4) information for all of the voles used in the study.  In addition to this primary data there is the R code used to calculate the behavioral indices from the primary data, the output from this code of the behavioral indices used for the analyses, and the R code for the actual statistical analyses.  For info on the collection of the data and the analyses done, see the methods of the article.

Usage Notes

There are 16 enclosures named A through P, each with 16 voles in the experiment.  However, 8 of these enclosures were for a different experiment, the enclosures used in this experiment (wherein male voles were infused with RNAi or a sham injection) are as follows: C, E, F, H, I, J, K, L.  The provided R code already separates out and uses these enclosures for the analyses.


National Institutes of Health, Award: 1R15HD075222-01A1