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Genes Brain Behav. 2006 Feb;5(1):11-8.

Cloninger's temperament dimensions and epidermal growth factor A61G polymorphism in Finnish adults.

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Department of Psychology, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.


This study examines a link between human temperament and epidermal growth factor (EGF). There is evidence that dopaminergic neurotransmission in the central nervous system has a role in temperament, especially in novelty seeking. Functional polymorphism in EGF gene has an impact on EGF production, and EGF, in turn, appears to affect the development of midbrain dopaminergic neurons. Epidermal growth factor gene A61G polymorphisms were studied in a randomly selected sample of 292 Finnish adults. Their temperaments were assessed twice (with a 4-year test-retest interval) with Cloninger's Temperament and Character Inventory consisting of four dimensions, i.e. novelty seeking (NS), harm avoidance (HA), reward dependence (RD) and persistence (P). The findings on men showed a significant association between a presence of the G/G polymorphism and scoring in the highest tertile on NS in both test and retest. The same was true with men who scored high on RD, especially on sensitivity, in both tests. Among women, G/G polymorphism was associated with a stable high level of P. Importantly, temperament dimensions, as assessed with one test only, did not provide replicable associations with EGF polymorphism across the two measurements. Our results demonstrate the importance of reliable phenotype assessment and lend support to the hypothesis that dopaminergic activity is one factor underlying stable temperament.

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