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Genet Mol Biol. 2017 Apr-Jun;40(2):421-429. doi: 10.1590/1678-4685-GMB-2016-0021. Epub 2017 May 22.

Music genetics research: Association with musicality of a polymorphism in the AVPR1A gene.

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Programa de Pós-Graduação em Genética e Biologia Molecular, Departamento de Genética, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil.
Programa de Pos-Graduação em Saúde da Criança e Adolescente, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil.


Musicality is defined as a natural tendency, sensibility, knowledge, or talent to create, perceive, and play music. Musical abilities involve a great range of social and cognitive behaviors, which are influenced by both environmental and genetic factors. Although a number of studies have yielded insights into music genetics research, genes and biological pathways related to these traits are not fully understood. Our hypothesis in the current study is that genes associated with different behaviors could also influence the musical phenotype. Our aim was to investigate whether polymorphisms in six genes (AVPR1A, SLC6A4, ITGB3, COMT, DRD2 and DRD4) related to social and cognitive traits are associated with musicality in a sample of children. Musicality was assessed through an individualized music therapy assessment profile (IMTAP) which has been validated in Brazil to measure musical ability. We show here that the RS1 microsatellite of the AVPR1A gene is nominally associated with musicality, corroborating previous results linking AVPR1A with musical activity. This study is one of the first to investigate musicality in a comprehensive way, and it contributes to better understand the genetic basis underlying musical ability.

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