Behavioural genetics

Behavioural genetics is the interdisciplinary effort to establish causal links between genes and animal (including human) behavioural traits and neural mechanisms. Methods used include twin studies, quantitative trait mapping by linkage to allelic variants, transgenic animals and targeted gene disruption or silencing.

Latest Research and Reviews

  • Research | | open

    GWAS have previously found 24 genomic loci associated with chronotype, an individual’s preference for early or late sleep timing. Here, the authors identify 327 additional loci in a sample of 697,828 individuals and further explore the relationships of chronotype with metabolic and psychiatric diseases.

    • Samuel E. Jones
    • , Jacqueline M. Lane
    • , Andrew R. Wood
    • , Vincent T. van Hees
    • , Jessica Tyrrell
    • , Robin N. Beaumont
    • , Aaron R. Jeffries
    • , Hassan S. Dashti
    • , Melvyn Hillsdon
    • , Katherine S. Ruth
    • , Marcus A. Tuke
    • , Hanieh Yaghootkar
    • , Seth A. Sharp
    • , Yingjie Jie
    • , William D. Thompson
    • , Jamie W. Harrison
    • , Amy Dawes
    • , Enda M. Byrne
    • , Henning Tiemeier
    • , Karla V. Allebrandt
    • , Jack Bowden
    • , David W. Ray
    • , Rachel M. Freathy
    • , Anna Murray
    • , Diego R. Mazzotti
    • , Philip R. Gehrman
    • , Debbie A. Lawlor
    • , Timothy M. Frayling
    • , Martin K. Rutter
    • , David A. Hinds
    • , Richa Saxena
    •  & Michael N. Weedon
  • Research |

    A genetic study identifies hundreds of loci associated with risk tolerance and risky behaviors, finds evidence of substantial shared genetic influences across these phenotypes, and implicates genes involved in neurotransmission.

    • Richard Karlsson Linnér
    • , Pietro Biroli
    • , Edward Kong
    • , S. Fleur W. Meddens
    • , Robbee Wedow
    • , Mark Alan Fontana
    • , Maël Lebreton
    • , Stephen P. Tino
    • , Abdel Abdellaoui
    • , Anke R. Hammerschlag
    • , Michel G. Nivard
    • , Aysu Okbay
    • , Cornelius A. Rietveld
    • , Pascal N. Timshel
    • , Maciej Trzaskowski
    • , Ronald de Vlaming
    • , Christian L. Zünd
    • , Yanchun Bao
    • , Laura Buzdugan
    • , Ann H. Caplin
    • , Chia-Yen Chen
    • , Peter Eibich
    • , Pierre Fontanillas
    • , Juan R. Gonzalez
    • , Peter K. Joshi
    • , Ville Karhunen
    • , Aaron Kleinman
    • , Remy Z. Levin
    • , Christina M. Lill
    • , Gerardus A. Meddens
    • , Gerard Muntané
    • , Sandra Sanchez-Roige
    • , Frank J. van Rooij
    • , Erdogan Taskesen
    • , Yang Wu
    • , Futao Zhang
    • , Michelle Agee
    • , Babak Alipanahi
    • , Robert K. Bell
    • , Katarzyna Bryc
    • , Sarah L. Elson
    • , Nicholas A. Furlotte
    • , Karen E. Huber
    • , Nadia K. Litterman
    • , Jennifer C. McCreight
    • , Matthew H. McIntyre
    • , Joanna L. Mountain
    • , Carrie A. M. Northover
    • , Steven J. Pitts
    • , J. Fah Sathirapongsasuti
    • , Olga V. Sazonova
    • , Janie F. Shelton
    • , Suyash Shringarpure
    • , Chao Tian
    • , Joyce Y. Tung
    • , Vladimir Vacic
    • , Catherine H. Wilson
    • , Mawussé Agbessi
    • , Habibul Ahsan
    • , Isabel Alves
    • , Anand Andiappan
    • , Philip Awadalla
    • , Alexis Battle
    • , Frank Beutner
    • , Marc Jan Bonder
    • , Dorret I. Boomsma
    • , Mark Christiansen
    • , Annique Claringbould
    • , Patrick Deelen
    • , Tõnu Esko
    • , Marie-Julie Favé
    • , Lude Franke
    • , Timothy Frayling
    • , Sina A. Gharib
    • , Gregory Gibson
    • , Bastiaan Heijmans
    • , Gibran Hemani
    • , Rick Jansen
    • , Mika Kähönen
    • , Anette Kalnapenkis
    • , Silva Kasela
    • , Johannes Kettunen
    • , Yungil Kim
    • , Holger Kirsten
    • , Peter Kovacs
    • , Knut Krohn
    • , Jaanika Kronberg-Guzman
    • , Viktorija Kukushkina
    • , Zoltan Kutalik
    • , Bernett Lee
    • , Terho Lehtimäki
    • , Markus Loeffler
    • , Urko M. Marigorta
    • , Andres Metspalu
    • , Lili Milani
    • , Grant W. Montgomery
    • , Martina Müller-Nurasyid
    • , Matthias Nauck
    • , Michel G. Nivard
    • , Brenda Penninx
    • , Markus Perola
    • , Natalia Pervjakova
    • , Brandon Pierce
    • , Joseph Powell
    • , Holger Prokisch
    • , Bruce M. Psaty
    • , Olli Raitakari
    • , Susan Ring
    • , Samuli Ripatti
    • , Olaf Rotzchke
    • , Sina Rüeger
    • , Ashis Saha
    • , Markus Scholz
    • , Katharina Schramm
    • , Ilkka Seppälä
    • , Michael Stumvoll
    • , Patrick Sullivan
    • , Peter-Bram t Hoen
    • , Alexander Teumer
    • , Joachim Thiery
    • , Lin Tong
    • , Anke Tönjes
    • , Jenny van Dongen
    • , Joyce van Meurs
    • , Joost Verlouw
    • , Peter M. Visscher
    • , Uwe Völker
    • , Urmo Võsa
    • , Harm-Jan Westra
    • , Hanieh Yaghootkar
    • , Jian Yang
    • , Biao Zeng
    • , Futao Zhang
    • , Aysu Okbay
    • , Jonathan P. Beauchamp
    • , Mark Alan Fontana
    • , James J. Lee
    • , Tune H. Pers
    • , Cornelius A. Rietveld
    • , Patrick Turley
    • , Guo-Bo Chen
    • , Valur Emilsson
    • , S. Fleur W. Meddens
    • , Sven Oskarsson
    • , Joseph K. Pickrell
    • , Kevin Thom
    • , Pascal Timshel
    • , Ronald de Vlaming
    • , Abdel Abdellaoui
    • , Tarunveer S. Ahluwalia
    • , Jonas Bacelis
    • , Clemens Baumbach
    • , Gyda Bjornsdottir
    • , Johannes H. Brandsma
    • , Maria Pina Concas
    • , Jaime Derringer
    • , Nicholas A. Furlotte
    • , Tessel E. Galesloot
    • , Giorgia Girotto
    • , Richa Gupta
    • , Leanne M. Hall
    • , Sarah E. Harris
    • , Edith Hofer
    • , Momoko Horikoshi
    • , Jennifer E. Huffman
    • , Kadri Kaasik
    • , Ioanna P. Kalafati
    • , Robert Karlsson
    • , Augustine Kong
    • , Jari Lahti
    • , Sven J. van der Lee
    • , Christiaan de Leeuw
    • , Penelope A. Lind
    • , Karl-Oskar Lindgren
    • , Tian Liu
    • , Massimo Mangino
    • , Jonathan Marten
    • , Evelin Mihailov
    • , Michael B. Miller
    • , Peter J. van der Most
    • , Christopher Oldmeadow
    • , Antony Payton
    • , Natalia Pervjakova
    • , Wouter J. Peyrot
    • , Yong Qian
    • , Olli Raitakari
    • , Rico Rueedi
    • , Erika Salvi
    • , Börge Schmidt
    • , Katharina E. Schraut
    • , Jianxin Shi
    • , Albert V. Smith
    • , Raymond A. Poot
    • , Beate St Pourcain
    • , Alexander Teumer
    • , Gudmar Thorleifsson
    • , Niek Verweij
    • , Dragana Vuckovic
    • , Juergen Wellmann
    • , Harm-Jan Westra
    • , Jingyun Yang
    • , Wei Zhao
    • , Zhihong Zhu
    • , Behrooz Z. Alizadeh
    • , Najaf Amin
    • , Andrew Bakshi
    • , Sebastian E. Baumeister
    • , Ginevra Biino
    • , Klaus Bønnelykke
    • , Patricia A. Boyle
    • , Harry Campbell
    • , Francesco P. Cappuccio
    • , Gail Davies
    • , Jan-Emmanuel De Neve
    • , Panos Deloukas
    • , Ilja Demuth
    • , Jun Ding
    • , Peter Eibich
    • , Lewin Eisele
    • , Niina Eklund
    • , David M. Evans
    • , Jessica D. Faul
    • , Mary F. Feitosa
    • , Andreas J. Forstner
    • , Ilaria Gandin
    • , Bjarni Gunnarsson
    • , Bjarni V. Halldórsson
    • , Tamara B. Harris
    • , Andrew C. Heath
    • , Lynne J. Hocking
    • , Elizabeth G. Holliday
    • , Georg Homuth
    • , Michael A. Horan
    • , Jouke-Jan Hottenga
    • , Philip L. de Jager
    • , Peter K. Joshi
    • , Astanand Jugessur
    • , Marika A. Kaakinen
    • , Mika Kähönen
    • , Stavroula Kanoni
    • , Liisa Keltigangas-Järvinen
    • , Lambertus A. L. M. Kiemeney
    • , Ivana Kolcic
    • , Seppo Koskinen
    • , Aldi T. Kraja
    • , Martin Kroh
    • , Zoltan Kutalik
    • , Antti Latvala
    • , Lenore J. Launer
    • , Maël P. Lebreton
    • , Douglas F. Levinson
    • , Paul Lichtenstein
    • , Peter Lichtner
    • , David C. M. Liewald
    • , Anu Loukola
    • , Pamela A. Madden
    • , Reedik Mägi
    • , Tomi Mäki-Opas
    • , Riccardo E. Marioni
    • , Pedro Marques-Vidal
    • , Gerardus A. Meddens
    • , George McMahon
    • , Christa Meisinger
    • , Thomas Meitinger
    • , Yusplitri Milaneschi
    • , Lili Milani
    • , Grant W. Montgomery
    • , Ronny Myhre
    • , Christopher P. Nelson
    • , Dale R. Nyholt
    • , William E. R. Ollier
    • , Aarno Palotie
    • , Lavinia Paternoster
    • , Nancy L. Pedersen
    • , Katja E. Petrovic
    • , David J. Porteous
    • , Katri Räikkönen
    • , Susan M. Ring
    • , Antonietta Robino
    • , Olga Rostapshova
    • , Igor Rudan
    • , Aldo Rustichini
    • , Veikko Salomaa
    • , Alan R. Sanders
    • , Antti-Pekka Sarin
    • , Helena Schmidt
    • , Rodney J. Scott
    • , Blair H. Smith
    • , Jennifer A. Smith
    • , Jan A. Staessen
    • , Elisabeth Steinhagen-Thiessen
    • , Konstantin Strauch
    • , Antonio Terracciano
    • , Martin D. Tobin
    • , Sheila Ulivi
    • , Simona Vaccargiu
    • , Lydia Quaye
    • , Frank J. van Rooij
    • , Cristina Venturini
    • , Anna A. E. Vinkhuyzen
    • , Uwe Völker
    • , Henry Völzke
    • , Judith M. Vonk
    • , Diego Vozzi
    • , Johannes Waage
    • , Erin B. Ware
    • , Gonneke Willemsen
    • , John R. Attia
    • , David A. Bennett
    • , Klaus Berger
    • , Lars Bertram
    • , Hans Bisgaard
    • , Dorret I. Boomsma
    • , Ingrid B Borecki
    • , Ute Bültmann
    • , Christopher F. Chabris
    • , Francesco Cucca
    • , Daniele Cusi
    • , Ian J. Deary
    • , George V. Dedoussis
    • , Cornelia M. van Duijn
    • , Johan G. Eriksson
    • , Barbara Franke
    • , Lude Franke
    • , Paolo Gasparini
    • , Pablo V. Gejman
    • , Christian Gieger
    • , Hans-Jörgen Grabe
    • , Jacob Gratten
    • , Patrick J. F. Groenen
    • , Vilmundur Gudnason
    • , Pim van der Harst
    • , Caroline Hayward
    • , David A. Hinds
    • , Wolfgang Hoffmann
    • , Elina Hyppönen
    • , William G. Iacono
    • , Bo Jacobsson
    • , Marjo-Riitta Järvelin
    • , Karl-Heinz Jöckel
    • , Jaakko Kaprio
    • , Sharon L. R. Kardia
    • , Terho Lehtimäki
    • , Steven F. Lehrer
    • , Patrik K. E. Magnusson
    • , Nicholas G. Martin
    • , Matt McGue
    • , Andres Metspalu
    • , Neil Pendleton
    • , Brenda Penninx
    • , Markus Perola
    • , Nicola Pirastu
    • , Mario Pirastu
    • , Ozren Polasek
    • , Danielle Posthuma
    • , Christine Power
    • , Michael A. Province
    • , Nilesh J. Samani
    • , David Schlessinger
    • , Reinhold Schmidt
    • , Thorkild I. A. Sørensen
    • , Tim D. Spector
    • , Kari Stefansson
    • , Unnur Thorsteinsdottir
    • , A. Roy Thurik
    • , Nicholas J. Timpson
    • , Henning Tiemeier
    • , Joyce Y. Tung
    • , André G. Uitterlinden
    • , Veronique Vitart
    • , Peter Vollenweider
    • , David R. Weir
    • , James F. Wilson
    • , Alan F. Wright
    • , Dalton C. Conley
    • , Robert F. Krueger
    • , George Davey Smith
    • , Albert Hofman
    • , David I. Laibson
    • , Sarah E. Medland
    • , Michelle N. Meyer
    • , Jian Yang
    • , Magnus Johannesson
    • , Peter M. Visscher
    • , Tõnu Esko
    • , Philipp D. Koellinger
    • , David Cesarini
    • , Daniel J. Benjamin
    • , Adam Auton
    • , Jason D. Boardman
    • , David W. Clark
    • , Andrew Conlin
    • , Conor C. Dolan
    • , Urs Fischbacher
    • , Patrick J. F. Groenen
    • , Kathleen Mullan Harris
    • , Gregor Hasler
    • , Albert Hofman
    • , Mohammad A. Ikram
    • , Sonia Jain
    • , Robert Karlsson
    • , Ronald C. Kessler
    • , Maarten Kooyman
    • , James MacKillop
    • , Minna Männikkö
    • , Carlos Morcillo-Suarez
    • , Matthew B. McQueen
    • , Klaus M. Schmidt
    • , Melissa C. Smart
    • , Matthias Sutter
    • , A. Roy Thurik
    • , André G. Uitterlinden
    • , Jon White
    • , Harriet de Wit
    • , Jian Yang
    • , Lars Bertram
    • , Dorret I. Boomsma
    • , Tõnu Esko
    • , Ernst Fehr
    • , David A. Hinds
    • , Magnus Johannesson
    • , Meena Kumari
    • , David Laibson
    • , Patrik K. E. Magnusson
    • , Michelle N. Meyer
    • , Arcadi Navarro
    • , Abraham A. Palmer
    • , Tune H. Pers
    • , Danielle Posthuma
    • , Daniel Schunk
    • , Murray B. Stein
    • , Rauli Svento
    • , Henning Tiemeier
    • , Paul R. H. J. Timmers
    • , Patrick Turley
    • , Robert J. Ursano
    • , Gert G. Wagner
    • , James F. Wilson
    • , Jacob Gratten
    • , James J. Lee
    • , David Cesarini
    • , Daniel J. Benjamin
    • , Philipp D. Koellinger
    •  & Jonathan P. Beauchamp
    Nature Genetics 51, 245-257
  • Research | | open

    Multigenerational outbred populations from an advanced intercross line (AIL) of mice represent useful resources for genome wide association analysis. Here, the authors analyze 1,063 LG x SM AIL mice to identify significant associations for 50 traits relevant to human health and disease.

    • Natalia M. Gonzales
    • , Jungkyun Seo
    • , Ana I. Hernandez Cordero
    • , Celine L. St. Pierre
    • , Jennifer S. Gregory
    • , Margaret G. Distler
    • , Mark Abney
    • , Stefan Canzar
    • , Arimantas Lionikas
    •  & Abraham A. Palmer
  • Research |

    A century after being predicted by theory, the authors detect and quantify the genomic signature of assortative mating in ~400,000 contemporary human genomes, and report new genetic evidence for assortative mating on height and educational attainment.

    • Loic Yengo
    • , Matthew R. Robinson
    • , Matthew C. Keller
    • , Kathryn E. Kemper
    • , Yuanhao Yang
    • , Maciej Trzaskowski
    • , Jacob Gratten
    • , Patrick Turley
    • , David Cesarini
    • , Daniel J. Benjamin
    • , Naomi R. Wray
    • , Michael E. Goddard
    • , Jian Yang
    •  & Peter M. Visscher

News and Comment

  • Research Highlights |

    A study in Nature Genetics reports the first genome-wide significant loci for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and implicates biologically informative genes, such as FOXP2, as contributors to its aetiology.

    • Dorothy Clyde
  • Comments and Opinion |

    Inbred mice are preferred over outbred mice because it is assumed that they display less trait variability. We compared coefficients of variation and did not find evidence of greater trait stability in inbred mice. We conclude that contrary to conventional wisdom, outbred mice might be better subjects for most biomedical research.

    • Alexander H. Tuttle
    • , Vivek M. Philip
    • , Elissa J. Chesler
    •  & Jeffrey S. Mogil
    Nature Methods 15, 994-996
  • Research Highlights |

    One in four UK adults over the age of 65 suffers from loneliness. An analysis of UK Biobank data has identified 15 genomic loci associated with loneliness and reports a possible causal link between obesity and loneliness and depression.

    • Dorothy Clyde