Genetic influences on brain structure

Nature Neuroscience
P M ThompsonA W Toga

Abstract

Here we report on detailed three-dimensional maps revealing how brain structure is influenced by individual genetic differences. A genetic continuum was detected in which brain structure was increasingly similar in subjects with increasing genetic affinity. Genetic factors significantly influenced cortical structure in Broca's and Wernicke's language areas, as well as frontal brain regions (r2(MZ) > 0.8, p < 0.05). Preliminary correlations were performed suggesting that frontal gray matter differences may be linked to Spearman's g, which measures successful test performance across multiple cognitive domains (p < 0.05). These genetic brain maps reveal how genes determine individual differences, and may shed light on the heritability of cognitive and linguistic skills, as well as genetic liability for diseases that affect the human cortex.

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