The availability of numerous genetically homogenous mouse strains permits the analysis of genetic influences on behavior and also behavioral sensitivity (responsivity) to drugs of abuse. The current study was conducted to characterize discriminated operant responding for food in four inbred strains (Balb/cByJ, DBA/2J, C57BL/6J, SJL/J), an F1 Hybrid (C57BL/6xSJL), and one outbred strain (CD1) of mouse. The effect of cocaine on this operant behavior was also examined. Initially, all animals were trained to nosepoke for food on a continuous reinforcement schedule. The minimum response requirement for reinforcement was increased every 5 days until the animals were responding on an FR-15 schedule of reinforcement. All strains increased operant responding as the schedule of reinforcement was raised. However, significant differences in response rate and discrimination learning were observed among the various strains of mice. Cocaine administration reduced operant responding for food in Balb/cByJ, C57BL/6J, C57BL/6xSJL/J and CD1 mice at a dose of 15.0 mg/kg, whereas higher doses were required in DBA/2J mice (30.0 mg/kg) and SJL/J mice (56.0 mg/kg). These results suggest that operant performance and the effect of cocaine on this behavior is differentially influenced by genetic make-up.