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Genetics of biologically based psychological differences

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Article number20170162
Number of pages10
JournalPhilosophical Transactions B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1744
Early online date26 Feb 2018
DateAccepted/In press - 22 Nov 2017
DateE-pub ahead of print - 26 Feb 2018
DatePublished (current) - 19 Apr 2018


In recent years, substantial effort has gone into disentangling the genetic contribution to individual differences in behaviour (such as personality and temperament traits). Heritability estimates from twin and family studies, and more recently using whole genome approaches, suggest a substantial genetic component to these traits. However, efforts to identify the genes that influence these traits have had relatively little success. Here, we review current work investigating the heritability of individual differences in behavioural traits and provide an overview of the results from genome-wide association analyses of these traits to date. In addition, we discuss the implications of these findings for the potential applications of Mendelian randomization. This article is part of the theme issue ‘Diverse perspectives on diversity: multi-disciplinary approaches to taxonomies of individual differences’.

    Structured keywords

  • Brain and Behaviour
  • Tobacco and Alcohol

    Research areas

  • Behavioural traits, GWAS, Heritability, Mendelian randomization, Personality, Temperament

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    Licence: CC BY


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