Heritability and molecular genetic basis of acoustic startle eye blink and affectively modulated startle response: A genome-wide association study

Uma Vaidyanathan, Stephen M. Malone, Michael B. Miller, Matt Mcgue, William G. Iacono

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations

Abstract

Acoustic startle responses have been studied extensively in relation to individual differences and psychopathology. We examined three indices of the blink response in a picture-viewing paradigm-overall startle magnitude across all picture types, and aversive and pleasant modulation scores-in 3,323 twins and parents. Biometric models and molecular genetic analyses showed that half the variance in overall startle was due to additive genetic effects. No single nucleotide polymorphism was genome-wide significant, but GRIK3 produced a significant effect when examined as part of a candidate gene set. In contrast, emotion modulation scores showed little evidence of heritability in either biometric or molecular genetic analyses. However, in a genome-wide scan, PARP14 produced a significant effect for aversive modulation. We conclude that, although overall startle retains potential as an endophenotype, emotion-modulated startle does not.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1285-1299
Number of pages15
JournalPsychophysiology
Volume51
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014

Keywords

  • Endophenotypes
  • GCTA
  • Gene-based tests
  • Genome-wide association study
  • Heritability
  • Molecular genetics
  • Startle

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