School of Medicine Publications and Presentations

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Working memory performance is significantly influenced by genetic factors. Here, we assessed genetic contributions to both working memory performance and neuroimaging measures focused on the network of brain regions associated with working memory by using a sample of 467 human participants from extended families. Imaging measures included diffusion tensor imaging indices in major white matter tracts thought to be associated with working memory and structural magnetic resonance imaging measures of frontal and parietal gray matter density. Analyses directly addressed whether working memory performance and neural structural integrity are influenced by common genetic factors (e.g., pleiotropy). While all cognitive measures, gray matter regions, and white matter tracts assessed were heritable, only performance on a spatial delayed response task and integrity of the superior longitudinal fasciculus (a primary fronto-parietal connection) shared genetic factors. As working memory may be a core component of other higher level processes, such as general intelligence, this finding has implications for the heritability of complex cognitive functions, as well as for our understanding of the transmission of cognitive deficits in mental and neurological disorders.


Copyright © 2010 the authors

Material published from 2010 to 2014 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-NC-SA)

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.

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The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience



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Mentor/PI Department

Office of Human Genetics



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