What can time-frequency and phase coherence measures tell us about the genetic basis of P3 amplitude?

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In a recent comprehensive investigation, we largely failed to identify significant genetic markers associated with P3 amplitude or to corroborate previous associations between P3 and specific single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) or genes. In the present study we extended this line of investigation to examine time-frequency (TF) activity and intertrial phase coherence (ITPC) in the P3 time window, both of which are associated with P3 amplitude. Previous genome-wide research has reported associations between P3-related theta and delta activity and individual genetic variants. A large, population-based sample of 4211 subjects, comprising male and female adolescent twins and their parents, was genotyped for 527,828 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), from which over six million SNPs were accurately imputed. Heritability estimates were greater for TF energy than ITPC, whether based on biometric models or the combined influence of all measured SNPs (derived from genome-wide complex trait analysis). The magnitude of overlap in the specific SNPs associated with delta energy and ITPC and P3 amplitude was significant. A genome-wide analysis of all SNPs, accompanied by an analysis of approximately 17,600 genes, indicated a region of chromosome 2 around TEKT4 that was significantly associated with theta ITPC. Analysis of candidate SNPs and genes previously reported to be associated with P3 or related phenotypes yielded one association surviving correction for multiple tests: between theta energy and CRHR1. However, we did not obtain significant associations for SNPs implicated in previous genome-wide studies of TF measures. Identifying specific genetic variants associated with P3 amplitude remains a challenge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-56
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Psychophysiology
StatePublished - May 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier B.V.


  • Endophenotype
  • Genome-wide association study
  • Heritability
  • Inter-trial phase coherence
  • P300
  • Time-frequency energy


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