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Wheat grain consumption and selection by inbred and outbred strains of mice

Lottes O.C., Kiszonas A.M., Fuerst E.P., Morris C.F.
Physiology & behavior 2016 v.165 pp. 154-158
body weight, bran, color, food choices, grain consumption, laboratory animals, mice, pigmentation, seed coat, strains, varieties, wheat
Food selection and avoidance are driven primarily by orosensory cues. Previous studies with C57BL/6J mice indicated marked differences in selection and consumption of individual grains of different wheat varieties when presented in binary mixtures. The present study examined the patterns of mouse grain selection across four strains of laboratory mice: two inbred, BALB/c and C57BL/6J, and two outbred, Swiss-Webster and CD1. Four pairs of wheat varieties that were known to vary a priori for consumption preference or seed coat (‘bran’) color were tested. Two variety pairs were near-isogenic (>98% similar) with contrasting red and white seed coat coloration/pigmentation. All four mice strains exhibited similar preferences between wheat variety pairs, whereas consumption was not highly related to mouse body weight. This result indicates a more generalized phenomenon regarding how mice select and then consume individual wheat grains. The study supported the continued use of C57BL/6J as an effective strain model system to study food perception.