Heritability of P300 amplitude development from adolescence to adulthood

Scott R. Carlson, William G. Iacono

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Early adulthood is a period of late brain development corresponding to the age of onset for psychopathology associated with P300 amplitude reductions. Although amplitude from a single occasion is heritable, little is known about genetic influences on change during this period. This is the first study of P300 change to combine latent growth and twin models. P300 at Pz was measured up to three times at approximately ages 17, 20, and 23 in monozygotic and dizygotic male twins using a visual task. P300 decreased with age. Correlations indexing the stability of amplitude over time were high (median r=.72) and almost 90% of the stable variance (i.e., the model intercept) was attributable to genetic influences. The rate of decrease was heritable, and the genes influencing intercept may be the same ones influencing change. Finally, intercept was more heritable than amplitude at any single time point. Intercept may be a more useful aid in the search for genes associated with relevant psychopathology than single measures of P300. Over a broader age range growth indices may be useful "developmental" endophenotypes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)470-480
Number of pages11
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2006


  • Development
  • Genes
  • Latent growth model
  • P300 amplitude
  • Twin studies


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