Behavior Genetics

, 39:255

Genetic and Environmental Influences on Autistic-Like Behaviors in 2-Year-Old Twins

Original Research

DOI: 10.1007/s10519-009-9270-3

Cite this article as:
Edelson, L.R. & Saudino, K.J. Behav Genet (2009) 39: 255. doi:10.1007/s10519-009-9270-3

Abstract

This study aims to explore the genetic and environmental contributions to autistic-like behaviors in a general population sample of toddlers. In a classic twin study of 313 same-sex, 2-year-old twin pairs, autistic-like behaviors were assessed via parent ratings on the pervasive developmental problems subscale of the Child Behavior Checklist and observationally using tester ratings on the orientation/engagement subscale of the Behavior Rating Scale. Analyses show moderate, significant heritabilities for both measures of autistic-like behaviors, as well as modest, but significant shared environmental effects. These genetic and environmental influences overlap greatly between the two measures. Autistic-like behaviors in 2-year-old twins are largely genetic in etiology, but are also influenced by a shared environmental component at this age. This is the first study to examine the etiology of such behaviors in a sample of toddlers, thus providing novel information which could guide future research on genetic and environmental factors that affect these behaviors.

Keywords

Autistic disorder Behavioral genetics Child Behavior Checklist 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyBoston UniversityBostonUSA