Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Genetic influences increase between early and middle childhood.

From Davis et al.:
The generalist genes hypothesis implies that general cognitive ability (g) is an essential target for understanding how genetic polymorphisms influence the development of the human brain. Using 8,791 twin pairs from the Twins Early Development Study, we examine genetic stability and change in the etiology of g assessed by diverse measures during the critical transition from early to middle childhood. The heritability of a latent g factor in early childhood is 23%, whereas shared environment accounts for 74% of the variance. In contrast, in middle childhood, heritability of a latent g factor is 62%, and shared environment accounts for 33%. Despite increasing importance of genetic influences and declining influence of shared environment, similar genetic and shared environmental factors affect g from early to middle childhood, as indicated by a cross-age genetic correlation of .57 and a shared environmental correlation of .65. These findings set constraints on how genetic and environmental variation affects the developing brain.

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