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Mol Psychiatry. 1998 May;3(3):238-46.

Dopamine D4 receptor and serotonin transporter promoter in the determination of neonatal temperament.

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  • 1Research Laboratory, S Herzog Memorial Hospital, Jerusalem, Israel.


Genetic effects on behavior were evaluated at a time in early development when we hypothesized that environmental influences are minimal and least likely to confound associations between temperament and genes. The behavioral effects of two common polymorphisms linked respectively in some, but not all, studies to novelty seeking (dopamine D4 receptor-D4DR) and neuroticism and harm avoidance (serotonin transporter promoter region-STPR) were examined in a group of 81 two-week-old neonates. Neonate temperament was evaluated using the Brazelton neonatal assessment scale (NBAS). Multivariate tests of significance showed a significant association of D4DR across four behavioral clusters pertinent to temperament including orientation, motor organization, range of state and regulation of state. A significant multivariate interaction was also observed between D4DR and STPR. The effect of the homozygous short STPR genotype (s/s) was to lower the orientation score for the group of neonates lacking the long form (L) of D4DR. When adult subjects were grouped by the STPR polymorphism there is no significant effect of L-D4DR in those subjects homozygous for the STPR short form (s/s) whereas in the group without the homozygous genotype the effect of L-D4DR is significant and accounts for 13% of the variance in novelty seeking scores between groups.

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