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Quantitative trait loci analysis of human event-related brain potentials: P3 voltage.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, SUNY Health Science Center at Brooklyn, NY 11203, USA.


The P3 event-related brain potential (ERP) is a positive-going voltage change of scalp-recorded electroencephalographic activity that occurs between 300-500 ms after stimulus onset. It is elicited when a stimulus is perceived, memory operations are engaged, and attentional resources are allocated toward its processing. Because this ERP component reflects fundamental cognitive processing, it has found wide utility as an assessment of human mental function in basic and clinical studies. In particular, P3 attributes are heritable and have demonstrated considerable promise as a means to identify individuals at genetic risk for alcoholism. We have conducted a quantitative linkage analysis on a large sample from families with a high density of affected individuals. The analyses suggest that several regions of the human genome contain genetic loci related to the generation of the P3 component of the ERP, which are possible candidate loci underlying the functional organization of human neuroelectric activity.

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