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Front Neurosci. 2018 Sep 20;12:666. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2018.00666. eCollection 2018.

The Association Between Genetic Variation in FOXP2 and Sensorimotor Control of Speech Production.

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Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, The First Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China.
Department of Computer Science and Technology, Zhuhai College of Jilin University, Zhuhai, China.
Department of Psychology, Laurier Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, ON, Canada.
Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Brain Function and Disease, Zhongshan School of Medicine, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China.


Significant advances have been made in understanding the role of auditory feedback in sensorimotor integration for speech production. The neurogenetic basis of this feedback-based control process, however, remains largely unknown. Mutations of FOXP2 gene in humans are associated with severe deficits in speech motor behavior. The present study examined the associations between a FOXP2 common variant, rs6980093 (A/G), and the behavioral and event-related potential (ERP) responses to -50 and -200 cents pitch perturbations during vocal production in a sample of 133 Chinese adults. Behaviorally, the GG genotype was associated with significantly smaller vocal compensations for -200 cents perturbations relative to the AA and AG genotypes. Furthermore, both the AA and AG genotypes exhibited significant positive correlations between the degree of vocal compensation for -50 and -200 cents perturbations and the variability of normal voice fundamental frequency, whereas no such correlation existed for the GG genotype. At the cortical level, significantly larger P2 responses to -200 cents perturbations were associated with the GG genotype as compared to the AA and AG genotypes due to increased left-lateralized activity in the superior, middle, and inferior frontal gyrus, precentral gyrus, anterior cingulate cortex, middle temporal gyrus, and insula. The neurobehavioral responses to -50 cents perturbations, however, did not vary as a function of genotype. These findings present the first neurobehavioral evidence for an association between FOXP2 genetic variant and auditory-motor integration for vocal pitch regulation. The differential effects of FOXP2 genotypes at rs6980093 may reflect their influences on the weighting of feedback and feedforward control of speech production.


FOXP2; auditory feedback; event-related potential; genetic variant; sensorimotor integration

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