Genotype by Environment Interactions in Cognitive Ability: A Survey of 14 Studies from Four Countries Covering Four Age Groups

D. Molenaar, S. van der Sluis, D.I. Boomsma, C.M.A. Haworth, J.K. Hewitt, N.G. Martin, R. Plomin, M.J. Wright, C.V. Dolan

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A large part of the variation in cognitive ability is known to be due to genetic factors. Researchers have tried to identify modifiers that influence the heritability of cognitive ability, indicating a genotype by environment interaction (G×E). To date, such modifiers include measured variables like income and socioeconomic status. The present paper focuses on G×E in cognitive ability where the environmental variable is an unmeasured environmental factor that is uncorrelated in family members. We examined this type of G×E in the GHCA-database (Haworth et al., Behav Genet 39:359-370, 2009), which comprises data of 14 different cognition studies from four different countries including participants of different ages. Results indicate that for younger participants (4-13 years), the strength of E decreases across the additive genetic factor A, but that this effect reverts for older participants (17-34 years). However, a clear and general conclusion about the presence of a genuine G×E is hampered by differences between the individual studies with respect to environmental and genetic influences on cognitive ability. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)208-219
JournalBehavior genetics
Issue number3
Early online date10 Feb 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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  • Netherlands Twin Register (NTR)

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