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  • Table of Content
       , Volume 40 Issue 10 Previous Issue    Next Issue
    For Selected: View Abstracts Toggle Thumbnails
    A few words from the guest editor
    Xiajia Ge
    . 2008, 40 (10): 1041-1041.  
    Abstract   PDF (216KB) ( 1962 )
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    Milestones in the History of Behavioral Genetics: Participant Observer
    Irving I. Gottesman
    . 2008, 40 (10): 1042-1050.  
    Abstract   PDF (311KB) ( 1742 )
    The history of Behavioral Genetics and (now) genomics, viewed in cross-section, is a kaleidoscopic pattern derived from the individual histories of the psychology of individual differences, plant, animal, and human genetics, biology, evolution, anthropology, demography, biometry, sociology, jurisprudence, and some of their neighboring disciplines. There will be positive correlations between any two renditions of the historian’s task, but the idiosyncratic experiences of any two with the listed contributors to the pattern guarantees that the correlations may be modest, without invalidating either one
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    Genetics of Learning Abilities and Disabilities: Recent Developments from the UK and Possible Directions for Research in China
    Robert Plomin,Claire M.A. Haworth,Oliver S.P. Davis
    . 2008, 40 (10): 1051-1061.  
    Abstract   PDF (287KB) ( 1541 )
    It is exciting to witness the birth of behavioral genetics in China at a time when the field of genetics is exploding with new discoveries. We begin by discussing the potential for Chinese researchers to sidestep the false starts of previous genetic research on behavior and to become leaders rather than followers in behavioral genetics research. Using learning abilities and disabilities as an example, the rest of the paper considers ways in which quantitative genetic research can go beyond the nature versus nurture question to ask more interesting questions about genetics and psychology. These include the relationship between the normal and abnormal, longitudinal analyses of stability and change, and multivariate analyses of heterogeneity and homogeneity. The most important way to go beyond the rudimentary question about nature versus nurture is to identify the genes responsible for genetic influence on behavior. We briefly describe our quantitative genetic findings and genome-wide association studies of learning ability from the UK Twins Early Development Study (TEDS). It seems a safe prediction that the fast pace of genetic discoveries will continue and will increasingly affect the field of psychology in China and the rest of the world
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    Genes, Environments, and Adolescent Substance Use:
    Retrospect and Prospect from the FinnTwin Studies
    Richard J. Rose,Jaakko Kaprio
    . 2008, 40 (10): 1062-1072.  
    Abstract   PDF (293KB) ( 1959 )
    The two FinnTwin studies represent longitudinal twin-family research with ten birth cohorts of adolescent Finnish twins. We review results from this research on genetic and environmental effects and G × E correlations and interactions in patterns of substance use. The FinnTwin studies show that dispositional influences on early substance use and trajectories of later abuse are modulated by sibling and peer interactions and by patterns of parenting. Environmental effects on initiation of smoking and drinking are found to arise from differences between schools and neighborhoods as well as from differences between households. Magnitude and persistence of genetic and environmental effects on substance use differ in urban and rural environments and are influenced by measured community characteristics, including cohesion and surveillance. Multi-stage modeling of trajectories of smoking and drinking reveals a dynamic interplay of genetic and environmental effects from initiation of use, to the development of individual differences in frequency, quantity and density of use, to diagnostic symptoms of abuse. Conjoint developmental trajectories of smoking and drinking appear more heritable than either one modeled alone, providing a heuristic lead for phenotype development in future research with molecular genetic strategies as these 10,000 Finnish twins mature into mid-adulthood.
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    The End of Behavioral Genetics?
    Matt McGue
    . 2008, 40 (10): 1073-1087.  
    Abstract   PDF (331KB) ( 1228 )
    Although genetic models were in the ascendance within psychology during the early 20th century, the association of early behavioral genetic research with the eugenics movement served to discredit the field in the eyes of many. Twin and adoption studies throughout the latter half of the 20th century helped to reestablish the importance of behavioral genetic models and set the stage for the current focus of the field on developing and testing models of gene-environment interplay. Research findings on developmental behavioral genetic research, gene-environment interaction, and the use of behavioral genetic models to test causal hypotheses are used to highlight the contributions of contemporary behavioral genetic research to psychological research. It is argued that future efforts to investigate models of gene-environment interplay will depend heavily on the field’s ability to identify the specific genetic variants that contribute to individual differences in behavior. The anticipated yield from genome-wide association studies gives much reason to be optimistic about the future vitality of behavior genetics
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    An Overview on the Genetics of ADHD
    Anita Thapar,Evangelia Stergiakouli
    . 2008, 40 (10): 1088-1098.  
    Abstract   PDF (323KB) ( 1713 )
    Attention Deficit Hyperactivity is a childhood-onset disorder that can persist into adult life. Traditional family, twin and adoption studies have shown that ADHD defined both categorically and dimensionally is familial and heritable. Twin studies are now being used to examine ways of defining the ADHD phenotype, to investigate gender differences, the effects on genes on continuity and comorbidity and to consider gene-environment interplay. Molecular genetic findings on ADHD have mainly arisen from functional candidate gene association studies and a number of pooled and meta-analyses have now been conducted. There is consistent evidence of association between ADHD and a dopamine D4 receptor gene VNTR and a dopamine D5 receptor gene microsatellite marker. More recent evidence from different studies and a pooled analysis suggests that conduct problems in those with ADHD is influenced by the COMT val158/108 met variant. Linkage studies suggest that there are no genes of moderate effect size and findings from large scale whole genome association studies are currently awaited. Overall the evidence to date, suggests that examining gene-phenotype links and testing whether gene variants have modifying effects on the ADHD phenotype are important. The contribution of gene-environment interplay (G × E) to psychopathology is becoming increasingly recognised, although for ADHD little is known on causal environmental risk factors
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    Social Processes and Genetic Influences in Child Development:
    Novel Uses of Twin and Adoption Designs

    David Reiss

    . 2008, 40 (10): 1099-1105.  
    Abstract   PDF (267KB) ( 1731 )

    Genetically informed design, such as twin and adoption studies, help delineate mechanisms of social influence on individual differences in a wide range of psychological characteristics. This paper reviews findings from the Nonshared Environment of Adolescent Development (NEAD) study and its contribution to our understanding of environmental mechanisms for adolescent development, with special attention to child effect on family systems. Future directions for quantitative behavior genetics research are discussed

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    The Early Growth and Development Study: Using the Prospective Adoption Design to Examine Genotype–Environment Interplay
    . 2008, 40 (10): 1106-1115.  
    Abstract   PDF (298KB) ( 1395 )
    The Early Growth and Development Study (EGDS) is a prospective adoption design consisting of 360 linked sets of birth parents, adoptive parents, and adopted children followed from 3 months postpartum through child age 7 years and an additional 200 linked sets for whom recruitment is underway. The EGDS brings together the study of genotype–environment correlation and Genotype × Environment (G×E) interaction to inform intervention development by examining mechanisms whereby family processes mediate or moderate the expression of genetic influences. Participants in the EGDS are recruited through domestic adoption agencies located throughout the United States of America. The assessments occur at 6-month intervals until child age 4-½ years and at ages 6 and 7, when the children are in their 1st and 2nd years of formal schooling (kindergarten and first grade). The data collection includes measures of child characteristics, birth and adoptive parent characteristics, adoptive parenting, prenatal exposure to drugs and maternal stress, birth parent and adopted child salivary cortisol reactivity, and DNA from all participants. The preliminary analyses suggest evidence for GxE interaction beginning in infancy. An intervention perspective on future developments in the field of behavioral genetics is described
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    The Twin and Offspring Study in Sweden: Advancing Our Understanding of Genotype-Environment Interplay by Studying Twins and Their Families
    Jenae M. Neiderhiser,Paul Lichtenstein
    . 2008, 40 (10): 1116-1123.  
    Abstract   PDF (271KB) ( 1507 )
    The Twin and Offspring Study in Sweden (TOSS) is a study of 909 pairs of twins who are parents and includes the twins, their adolescent child and their spouse or partner. The TOSS was designed to address three key questions: (1) what are the genetic and environmental influences on parenting for a sample of twins who are parents; (2) what are the genetic and environmental influences on adult family relationships; and (3) how do family relationships impact the adjustment of adults. Because of the inclusion of the children of twins as well as the twins themselves, the TOSS is able to begin to specify the types of genotype-environment correlation, especially when paired with other studies examining children who are twins. Findings from the TOSS have helped to clarify the types of genetoype environment correlation involved in parenting and other family relationships, have helped to specify how individual characteristics of parents influence their parenting, and how such individual characteristics can explain genetic influences on family relationships. Future directions for analyses using the TOSS include additional specification of genotype-environment correlation, examination of genotype × environment interaction and the analysis of specific genes for associations with the environmental constructs measured in TOSS and specific gene × specific environment interactions.
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    Disentangling Genetic and Environmental Influences on Children’s Development: Introducing A Novel Methodology
    Gordon T. Harold,Katherine H. Shelton,Frances Rice,Jacky Boivin,
    Dale Hay,Marianne Van Den Bree,Anita Thapar
    . 2008, 40 (10): 1124-1134.  
    Abstract   PDF (291KB) ( 1833 )
    The present study describes a novel methodology to examine the interplay between genetic and environmental influences on children’s development. Families of children aged 4 – 10 years born by one of five methods of assisted reproductive technologies, specifically homologous in vitro fertilization (IVF), sperm donation, egg donation, embryo donation, and gestational surrogacy, were contacted through fertility clinics and mailed a set of questionnaires focusing on the quality of family interaction, parenting, marital satisfaction, parent and child psychological health, economic conditions and family demographics. Analyses are described that highlight the novelty of this research design to disentangle genetic, intrauterine and early social environmental influences on children’s development. First, results are described whereby comparisons were made between children born through assisted reproductive technologies and children conceived naturally in relation to patterns of association between levels of interparental conflict, parent-to-child hostility and children’s symptoms of depression. Second, results are described where comparisons were made between patterns of association between parent depressive symptoms, family relationship quality (interparental and parent-child relations) and children’s symptoms of depression. Finally, a strategy that allows examination of relative genetic and intrauterine environmental influences on children’s health and mental health outcomes is described. Results are discussed in relation to implications for development of future intervention and prevention programmes
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