Authors: Ashley Jenkins, Gizelle Godinez, Malcolm Maden, & Dr. Justin Varholick
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Justin Varholick
College: College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
The African spiny mouse (Acomys cahirinus) is the first known mammal capable of regenerative healing to complete functionality, as opposed to the usual effects of scarring: reduced functionality. However, research on social dominance in group-housed animals indicates the social stress they experience may interact with their regeneration rates. Unfortunately, few studies have outlined the general dominance behavior of spiny mice and its underlying aspects. Dominance behavior is typically reflected through chasing and fleeing, but research demonstrates that other factors, such as social avoidance, can play a role. Here we attempt to build an operational definition of social avoidance behavior by evaluating the difference between dominant and submissive mice and their behavioral patterns. We also analyze the relationship between these avoidance patterns and regeneration rates of individual mice. Further studies should look into building a definition of dominance determined by avoidance, as well as the physiological stress associated with avoidance behavior, including glucocorticoid production, and how this can impact regeneration.