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J Neurosci. 2013 Sep 25;33(39):15618-25. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1616-13.2013.

Sulcal depth-position profile is a genetically mediated neuroscientific trait: description and characterization in the central sulcus.

Author information

Research Imaging Institute, University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas 78229, Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06511, Olin Neuropsychiatry Research Center, Institute of Living, Hartford Hospital, Hartford, Connecticut 06106, Maryland Psychiatric Research Center, Department of Psychiatry, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21201, Department of Genetics, Texas Biomedical Research Institute, San Antonio, Texas 78245, Department of Pathology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73104, Department of Physics, Florida International University, Miami, Florida 33199, and South Texas Veterans Health System, San Antonio, Texas 78229.

Erratum in

  • J Neurosci. 2013 Dec 11;33(50):19734.


Genetic and environmental influences on brain morphology were assessed in an extended-pedigree design by extracting depth-position profiles (DPP) of the central sulcus (CS). T1-weighted magnetic resonance images were used to measure CS length and depth in 467 human subjects from 35 extended families. Three primary forms of DPPs were observed. The most prevalent form, present in 70% of subjects, was bimodal, with peaks near hand and mouth regions. Trimodal and unimodal configurations accounted for 15 and 8%, respectively. Genetic control accounted for 56 and 66% of between-subject variance in average CS depth and length, respectively, and was not significantly influenced by environmental factors. Genetic control over CS depth ranged from 1 to 50% across the DPP. Areas of peak heritability occurred at locations corresponding to hand and mouth areas. Left and right analogous CS depth measurements were strongly pleiotropic. Shared genetic influence lessened as the distance between depth measurements was increased. We argue that DPPs are powerful phenotypes that should inform genetic influence of more complex brain regions and contribute to gene discovery efforts.

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