, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 65-76
Date: 10 Dec 2005

Cognitive Traits Link to Human Chromosomal Regions

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Human cognition in normal and disease states is both environmentally and genetically mediated. Except for measures of language-specific abilities, however, few cognitive measures have been associated with specific genes or chromosomal regions. We performed genome-wide linkage analysis of five neuropsychological tests in the Collaborative Study on Genetics of Alcoholism sample. The sample included 1579 individuals (53% female, 76% White Non-Hispanic) in 217 families. There were 390 markers with mean intermarker distance of 9.6 cM. Performance on the Digit Symbol Substitution Test, a component of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-R, showed significant linkage to 14q11.2 and suggestive linkage to 14q24.2. This test of sustained visual attention also involves visual-motor coordination and executive functions. Performance on the WAIS-R Digit Span Test of immediate memory and mental flexibility showed suggestive linkage to 11q25. Although the validity of these results beyond populations with a susceptibility for alcohol dependence is unclear, these results are among the first linkage results for non-language components of cognition.