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J Neurogenet. 2006 Jan-Jun;20(1-2):19-40.

The inheritance of cognitive skills: does genomic imprinting play a role?

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Brain and Behaviour Program, Department of Psychiatry, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5G 1X8.


Genomic imprinting refers to the differential expression of a gene based on parental origin. Animal and clinical studies have suggested that genomic imprinting is influential in brain development, with the maternal genome playing a disproportionate role in the development of the cortex. The present study investigated this phenomenon in a nonclinical human population, using intrafamilial correlations. Broadly consistent with predictions, it was found that abilities mediated by frontal, parietal, and temporal lobes, but not occipital lobes, were more closely correlated between children and mothers versus fathers. The implications of these findings for the prevailing theory of the evolution of genomic imprinting, and for the general study of genetics and behavior, are discussed.

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