Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet. 2016 Jan;171B(1):3-43. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.b.32364. Epub 2015 Sep 8.

Genetics of aggressive behavior: An overview.

Author information

1
Department of Cognitive Neuroscience, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Radboudumc, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
2
Departments of Psychiatry and of Neuroscience and Physiology, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, New York.
3
Departments of Neuroscience and Physiology, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, New York.
4
Departament de Genètica, Facultat de Biologia, Universitat de Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.
5
Institut de Biomedicina de la Universitat de Barcelona (IBUB), Catalonia, Spain.
6
Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Raras (CIBERER), Spain.
7
K.G. Jebsen Centre for Research on Neuropsychiatric Disorders, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway.

Abstract

The Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) address three types of aggression: frustrative non-reward, defensive aggression and offensive/proactive aggression. This review sought to present the evidence for genetic underpinnings of aggression and to determine to what degree prior studies have examined phenotypes that fit into the RDoC framework. Although the constructs of defensive and offensive aggression have been widely used in the animal genetics literature, the human literature is mostly agnostic with regard to all the RDoC constructs. We know from twin studies that about half the variance in behavior may be explained by genetic risk factors. This is true for both dimensional, trait-like, measures of aggression and categorical definitions of psychopathology. The non-shared environment seems to have a moderate influence with the effects of shared environment being unclear. Human molecular genetic studies of aggression are in an early stage. The most promising candidates are in the dopaminergic and serotonergic systems along with hormonal regulators. Genome-wide association studies have not yet achieved genome-wide significance, but current samples are too small to detect variants having the small effects one would expect for a complex disorder. The strongest molecular evidence for a genetic basis for aggression comes from animal models comparing aggressive and non-aggressive strains or documenting the effects of gene knockouts. Although we have learned much from these prior studies, future studies should improve the measurement of aggression by using a systematic method of measurement such as that proposed by the RDoC initiative.

KEYWORDS:

GWAS; aggression; candidate genes; genetics; mutations; twin

PMID:
26345359
DOI:
10.1002/ajmg.b.32364
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center