Heritability and molecular-genetic basis of resting EEG activity: A genome-wide association study

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Several EEG parameters are potential endophenotypes for different psychiatric disorders. The present study consists of a comprehensive behavioral- and molecular-genetic analysis of such parameters in a large community sample (N=4,026) of adolescent twins and their parents, genotyped for 527,829 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Biometric heritability estimates ranged from .49 to .85, with a median of .78. The additive effect of all SNPs (SNP heritability) varied across electrodes. Although individual SNPs were not significantly associated with EEG parameters, several genes were associated with delta power. We also obtained an association between the GABRA2 gene and beta power (p<.014), consistent with findings reported by others, although this did not survive Bonferroni correction. If EEG parameters conform to a largely polygenic model of inheritance, larger sample sizes will be required to detect individual variants reliably.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1225-1245
Number of pages21
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Society for Psychophysiological Research.

Copyright 2017 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


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


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