behavioral genetics


Summary: The experimental study of the relationship between the genotype of an organism and its behavior. The scope includes the effects of genes on simple sensory processes to complex organization of the nervous system.

Top Publications

  1. Moy S, Nadler J, Magnuson T, Crawley J. Mouse models of autism spectrum disorders: the challenge for behavioral genetics. Am J Med Genet C Semin Med Genet. 2006;142C:40-51 pubmed
    ..Research focusing on genes that mediate social behavior in mice may help identify neural circuitry essential for normal social interaction, and lead to novel genetic animal models of the autism behavioral phenotype. ..
  2. Flint J, Mott R. Applying mouse complex-trait resources to behavioural genetics. Nature. 2008;456:724-7 pubmed publisher
    ..Using these resources, scientists will be able to analyse mouse behaviour at an unprecedented level of detail. Interpreting the new data, however, will require a shift in focus from gene-based approaches to network-based approaches. ..
  3. Anholt R, Mackay T. Quantitative genetic analyses of complex behaviours in Drosophila. Nat Rev Genet. 2004;5:838-49 pubmed
    ..Recent advances in quantitative genetic and functional genomic approaches now enable the extensive characterization of complex genetic networks that mediate behaviours in this important model organism. ..
  4. Dominicus A, Skrondal A, Gjessing H, Pedersen N, Palmgren J. Likelihood ratio tests in behavioral genetics: problems and solutions. Behav Genet. 2006;36:331-40 pubmed
    ..Similar results for tests of the AE, DE and E models against the ADE model are also derived. Failing to use the appropriate reference distribution can lead to invalid conclusions. ..
  5. Greenspan R, Dierick H. 'Am not I a fly like thee?' From genes in fruit flies to behavior in humans. Hum Mol Genet. 2004;13 Spec No 2:R267-73 pubmed
    ..Studies of naturally occurring genetic variation in behavior have advanced our understanding of what kinds of variants arise spontaneously and contribute to behavior. ..
  6. Muthen B, Asparouhov T, Rebollo I. Advances in behavioral genetics modeling using Mplus: applications of factor mixture modeling to twin data. Twin Res Hum Genet. 2006;9:313-24 pubmed
    ..The factor mixture approach appears to have great potential for the genetic analyses of heterogeneous populations. Generalizations for longitudinal data are also outlined. ..
  7. Spady T, Ostrander E. Canine behavioral genetics: pointing out the phenotypes and herding up the genes. Am J Hum Genet. 2008;82:10-8 pubmed publisher
    ..Finally, we discuss the applicability of studies of canine behavior to human genetics. ..
  8. Wilfond B, Geller G, Lerman C, Audrain McGovern J, Shields A. Ethical issues in conducting behavioral genetics research: the case of smoking prevention trials among adolescents. J Health Care Law Policy. 2002;6:73-88 pubmed
  9. Saudino K. Behavioral genetics and child temperament. J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2005;26:214-23 pubmed
    ..However, behavioral genetics has much more to offer to the study of temperament than simple heritability estimates...

More Information


  1. Crowley J, Lucki I. Opportunities to discover genes regulating depression and antidepressant response from rodent behavioral genetics. Curr Pharm Des. 2005;11:157-69 pubmed
    ..This paper reviews several of these rodent strains and illustrates the genetic strategies available to discover the long-sought susceptibility genes regulating these phenotypes. ..
  2. Carey G. Cholesky problems. Behav Genet. 2005;35:653-65 pubmed
    ..constrains the numerical area of search and compromises the maximum likelihood theory currently used in behavioral genetics. Until the reasons for this phenomenon are understood and satisfactory solutions are developed, those who ..
  3. Singh S, Singh B. Behavioral genetics of Drosophila ananassae. Genet Mol Res. 2003;2:394-409 pubmed
    ..The occurrence of size assortative mating further indicates that there is size-dependent sexual selection in D. ananassae. ..
  4. Popova N. From gene to aggressive behavior: the role of brain serotonin. Neurosci Behav Physiol. 2008;38:471-5 pubmed publisher
  5. Purcell S, Sham P. Variance components models for gene-environment interaction in quantitative trait locus linkage analysis. Twin Res. 2002;5:572-6 pubmed
    ..As well as elucidating environmental pathways, consideration of G x E in quantitative and molecular studies will potentially direct and enhance gene-mapping efforts. ..
  6. Purcell S. Variance components models for gene-environment interaction in twin analysis. Twin Res. 2002;5:554-71 pubmed
    ..As well as elucidating environmental pathways, consideration of gene-environment interaction in quantitative and molecular studies will potentially direct and enhance gene-mapping efforts. ..
  7. Flint J. Analysis of quantitative trait loci that influence animal behavior. J Neurobiol. 2003;54:46-77 pubmed
    ..With advances in multivariate analyses, mapping can also test hypotheses about the psychological processes that give rise to behavioral variation...
  8. Gunter T, Vaughn M, Philibert R. Behavioral genetics in antisocial spectrum disorders and psychopathy: a review of the recent literature. Behav Sci Law. 2010;28:148-73 pubmed publisher
    ..While there is a substantial body of research concerning antisocial spectrum disorders in the behavioral genetics literature, only a few studies could be located using the phenotype of psychopathy...
  9. Avery L. Caenorhabditis elegans behavioral genetics: where are the knobs?. BMC Biol. 2010;8:69 pubmed publisher
    ..I suggest a set of criteria by which some genes important in the evolution of behavior might be recognized, and identify neuropeptide signaling pathways as candidates. ..
  10. Greenspan R. The varieties of selectional experience in behavioral genetics. J Neurogenet. 2003;17:241-70 pubmed
  11. Moy S, Nadler J. Advances in behavioral genetics: mouse models of autism. Mol Psychiatry. 2008;13:4-26 pubmed
    ..Research focusing on the effect of gene-by-gene interactions or genetic susceptibility to detrimental environmental challenges may further understanding of the complex etiology for autism. ..
  12. Gerlai R. Zebra fish: an uncharted behavior genetic model. Behav Genet. 2003;33:461-8 pubmed
  13. Fuller J. Single-locus control of saccharin preference in mice. J Hered. 1974;65:33-6 pubmed
  14. Sherman S, DeFries J, Gottesman I, Loehlin J, Meyer J, Pelias M, et al. Behavioral genetics '97: ASHG statement. Recent developments in human behavioral genetics: past accomplishments and future directions. Am J Hum Genet. 1997;60:1265-75 pubmed
    The field of behavioral genetics has enormous potential to uncover both genetic and environmental influences on normal and deviant behavior...
  15. de Castro J. Behavioral genetics of food intake regulation in free-living humans. Nutrition. 1999;15:550-4 pubmed
  16. Gilad Y, Rosenberg S, Przeworski M, Lancet D, Skorecki K. Evidence for positive selection and population structure at the human MAO-A gene. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002;99:862-7 pubmed
  17. Gladston S, Clarke D. Clozapine treatment of psychosis associated with velo-cardio-facial syndrome: benefits and risks. J Intellect Disabil Res. 2005;49:567-70 pubmed
    ..The addition of sodium valproate stopped seizures. Clozapine may improve psychotic symptoms for people with ID associated with VCFS, but clinicians should be alert for potential adverse effects. ..
  18. Wahlsten D, Rustay N, Metten P, Crabbe J. In search of a better mouse test. Trends Neurosci. 2003;26:132-6 pubmed
    ..The optimal apparatus configuration for certain genetic or pharmacological analyses might depend on the particular laboratory environment. Despite our best efforts, the mice will continue to win some innings. ..
  19. Timofeeva M, Maliuchenko N, Kulikova M, Shleptsova V, Shchegol kova I, Vediakov A, et al. [Prospects of studying the polymorphisms of key genes of the neurotransmitter systems: Communication II. The serotonergic system]. Fiziol Cheloveka. 2008;34:114-24 pubmed
  20. Diamond E. Conflicts of interest in medical ethics. Ethics Med. 2004;20:133-9 pubmed
  21. Carey G, Gottesman I. Genes and antisocial behavior: perceived versus real threats to jurisprudence. J Law Med Ethics. 2006;34:342-51 pubmed
  22. Hampton T. Interplay of genes and environment found in adolescents' alcohol abuse. JAMA. 2006;295:1760-2 pubmed
  23. Tecott L, Nestler E. Neurobehavioral assessment in the information age. Nat Neurosci. 2004;7:462-6 pubmed
    ..These hold promise, both for improving the throughput of mouse behavioral assessment and for providing new insights into the neurobiology of mammalian behavioral regulation. ..
  24. Harris S, Fox H, Wright A, Hayward C, Starr J, Whalley L, et al. The brain-derived neurotrophic factor Val66Met polymorphism is associated with age-related change in reasoning skills. Mol Psychiatry. 2006;11:505-13 pubmed
    ..This study indicates that BDNF genotype contributes to age-related changes in reasoning skills, which are closely related to general intelligence. ..
  25. Lehmann L, Feldman M. The co-evolution of culturally inherited altruistic helping and cultural transmission under random group formation. Theor Popul Biol. 2008;73:506-16 pubmed publisher
  26. Gillath O, Shaver P, Baek J, Chun D. Genetic correlates of adult attachment style. Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2008;34:1396-405 pubmed publisher
    ..These findings suggest that attachment insecurities are partially explained by particular genes, although there is still a great deal of individual difference variance that remains to be explained by other genes or social experiences. ..
  27. Szumlinski K, Lominac K, Frys K, Middaugh L. Genetic variation in heroin-induced changes in behaviour: effects of B6 strain dose on conditioned reward and locomotor sensitization in 129-B6 hybrid mice. Genes Brain Behav. 2005;4:324-36 pubmed
    ..Thus, strain differences in heroin responsiveness should be considered when examining transgenic lines on B6-129 backgrounds for opiate-induced changes in behaviour that may be relevant for addiction. ..
  28. Li F, Shen Y, Köhler U, Sharkey F, Menon D, Coulleaux L, et al. Interstitial microduplication of Xp22.31: Causative of intellectual disability or benign copy number variant?. Eur J Med Genet. 2010;53:93-9 pubmed publisher
    ..To date, this report is the largest compilation of clinical and array data regarding the microduplication of Xp22.31 and will serve to broaden the knowledge of regions involving copy number variation (CNV). ..
  29. Casey B, Soliman F, Bath K, Glatt C. Imaging genetics and development: challenges and promises. Hum Brain Mapp. 2010;31:838-51 pubmed publisher
    ..The main avenues for understanding gene function have been in behavioral genetics on one end and on the other end, molecular mouse models...
  30. Hunt G, Amdam G, Schlipalius D, Emore C, Sardesai N, Williams C, et al. Behavioral genomics of honeybee foraging and nest defense. Naturwissenschaften. 2007;94:247-67 pubmed
    ..The recently released draft genomic sequence for the bee will accelerate honeybee behavioral genetics. Although we lack sufficient tools to manipulate this genome easily, quantitative trait loci (QTLs) that ..
  31. Steinbock B. Designer babies: choosing our children's genes. Lancet. 2008;372:1294-5 pubmed
  32. Isen J, Baker L, Raine A, Bezdjian S. Genetic and environmental influences on the junior temperament and character inventory in a preadolescent twin sample. Behav Genet. 2009;39:36-47 pubmed publisher
    ..With the exception of Harm Avoidance, each of the scales failed to show measurement invariance with respect to sex, suggesting these scales may differ in meaning for boys and girls at this age. ..
  33. Thifault S, Ondrej S, Sun Y, Fortin A, Skamene E, Lalonde R, et al. Genetic determinants of emotionality and stress response in AcB/BcA recombinant congenic mice and in silico evidence of convergence with cardiovascular candidate genes. Hum Mol Genet. 2008;17:331-44 pubmed
    ..Functional polymorphisms in regulatory elements of candidate genes of the CV/inflammatory/immune systems support the hypothesis of genetically-altered environmental susceptibility in CV disease development...
  34. Podhorna J, Didriksen M. The heterozygous reeler mouse: behavioural phenotype. Behav Brain Res. 2004;153:43-54 pubmed
  35. Nau J. [Nature and nurture]. Rev Med Suisse. 2007;3:1146 pubmed
  36. Knafo A. The Longitudinal Israeli Study of Twins (LIST): children's social development as influenced by genetics, abilities, and socialization. Twin Res Hum Genet. 2006;9:791-8 pubmed
    ..Other variables of interest such as children's temperament and parental values are discussed, as are ideas for further research. ..
  37. Joseph J. Genetics and antisocial behavior. Ethical Hum Sci Serv. 2003;5:41-4 pubmed
    ..Two additional topics are Rhee and Waldman's incorrect description of the heritability concept and their failure to discuss several German criminal twin studies published during the Nazi era. ..
  38. Sousa N, Almeida O, Wotjak C. A hitchhiker's guide to behavioral analysis in laboratory rodents. Genes Brain Behav. 2006;5 Suppl 2:5-24 pubmed
    Genes and environment are both essential and interdependent determinants of behavioral responses. Behavioral genetics focuses on the role of genes on behavior...
  39. Markon K, Krueger R. An empirical comparison of information-theoretic selection criteria for multivariate behavior genetic models. Behav Genet. 2004;34:593-610 pubmed
    ..Results emphasize the importance of further research into theory and computation of information-theoretic criteria. ..
  40. Crusio W. Inheritance of behavioral and neuroanatomical phenotypical variance: hybrid mice are not always more stable than inbreds. Behav Genet. 2006;36:723-31 pubmed
    ..Again, hybrids were not always less variable than inbreds and sometimes even more variable. It follows that there exists no one-to-one relation between heterozygosity and developmental stability. ..
  41. Lathe R. The individuality of mice. Genes Brain Behav. 2004;3:317-27 pubmed
    ..Understanding how such effects amplify the behavioral spectrum displayed by otherwise identical animals will improve testing. ..
  42. Rushton J. Genetic and environmental contributions to pro-social attitudes: a twin study of social responsibility. Proc Biol Sci. 2004;271:2583-5 pubmed
    ..Forty-two per cent of the reliable variance was due to the twins' genes, 23% to the twins' common environment and the remainder to the twins' non-shared environment. ..
  43. Rose R. Prenatal programming of behavior: a twin-study perspective. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2005;29:321-7 pubmed
    ..Twin comparisons, especially the comparisons of monozygotic co-twins, offer an informative and incisive approach for research on prenatal programming in humans. ..
  44. Harper L. Epigenetic inheritance and the intergenerational transfer of experience. Psychol Bull. 2005;131:340-60 pubmed
    ..The author argues that temperamental variation may be influenced in the same way. Implications for theory and research design are presented along with testable predictions. ..
  45. Milner K, Craig E, Thompson R, Veltman M, Thomas N, Roberts S, et al. Prader-Willi syndrome: intellectual abilities and behavioural features by genetic subtype. J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2005;46:1089-96 pubmed
    ..We also tested reports that PWS cases due to the larger type I (TI) form of deletion show differences to cases with the smaller type II (TII) deletion...
  46. Dong H, Csernansky C, Martin M, Bertchume A, Vallera D, Csernansky J. Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors ameliorate behavioral deficits in the Tg2576 mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2005;181:145-52 pubmed
    ..Tg2576 mice may be useful as an animal model to further investigate the mechanisms by which aceytlcholinesterase inhibitors improve cognitive deficits in patients with AD. ..
  47. Crabbe J, Metten P, Cameron A, Wahlsten D. An analysis of the genetics of alcohol intoxication in inbred mice. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2005;28:785-802 pubmed
    ..This caveat likely extends to many behavioral domains (e.g. learning and memory, anxiety). ..
  48. Driscoll C. On our best behavior: optimality models in human behavioral ecology. Stud Hist Philos Biol Biomed Sci. 2009;40:133-41 pubmed publisher
    ..I suggest some ways in which human behavioral ecologists might adjust how they employ optimality models; in particular, I urge the abandonment of the phenotypic gambit in the human case. ..
  49. Lemonick M. The search for a murder gene. Time. 2003;161:100 pubmed
  50. Bailey A, Wahlsten D, Hurd P. Digit ratio (2D:4D) and behavioral differences between inbred mouse strains. Genes Brain Behav. 2005;4:318-23 pubmed
    ..We found large differences in digit ratio between the strains and suggest that inbred mice are a promising system for investigating the correlation between digit ratio and behavioral traits. ..
  51. Lorenzi C, Mandelli L, Pirovano A, Ploia C, Insacco C, Serretti A. The XIIth World Congress of Psychiatric Genetics. October 9-13, 2004, Dublin, Ireland. Pharmacogenomics. 2005;6:199-204 pubmed
  52. McGuffin P. Gene polymorphisms and behavior. Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2007;48:736-7 pubmed
    ..The first susceptibility genes involved in major psychiatric disorders have been identified and more will soon follow with the exploitation of emerging technologies that allow whole genome association studies. ..
  53. Epelbaum J. [Genetics programming, behavior and cognition in psychiatry (Dominique Campion)]. Med Sci (Paris). 2007;23:553 pubmed