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Behav Genet. 2010 Mar;40(2):167-77. doi: 10.1007/s10519-009-9330-8. Epub 2010 Jan 29.

Endophenotypes in a dynamically connected brain.

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Biological Psychology, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


We examined the longitudinal genetic architecture of three parameters of functional brain connectivity. One parameter described overall connectivity (synchronization likelihood, SL). The two others were derived from graph theory and described local (clustering coefficient, CC) and global (average path length, L) aspects of connectivity. We measured resting state EEG in 1,438 subjects from four age groups of about 16, 18, 25 and 50 years. Developmental curves for SL and L indicate that connectivity is more random at adolescence and old age, and more structured in middle-aged adulthood. Individual variation in SL and L were moderately to highly heritable at each age (SL: 40-82%; L: 29-63%). Genetic factors underlying these phenotypes overlapped. CC was also heritable (25-49%) but showed no systematic overlap with SL and L. SL, CC, and L in the alpha band showed high phenotypic and genetic stability from 16 to 25 years. Heritability for parameters in the beta band was lower, and less stable across ages, but genetic stability was high. We conclude that the connectivity parameters SL, CC, and L in the alpha band show the hallmarks of a good endophenotype for behavior and developmental disorders.

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