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Opportunities for an enhanced integration of neuroscience and genomics

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Neuroimaging and genetics are two rapidly expanding fields of research. Thoughtful integration of these areas is critical for ongoing large-scale research into the genetic mechanisms underlying brain structure, function, and development. Neuroimaging genetics has been slow to evolve relative to psychiatric genetics research, and some may be unaware that new statistical methods allow for the genomic analysis of more modestly-sized imaging samples. We present a broad overview of the extant imaging genetics literature, provide an interpretation of the major problems surrounding the integration of neuroimaging and genetics, discuss the influence and impact of genetics consortia, and suggest statistical genetic analyses that expand the repertoire of imaging researchers amassing rich behavioral data in modestly-sized samples. Specific attention is paid to the creative use of polygenic risk scoring in imaging genetic analyses, with primers on the most current risk scoring applications.

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Correspondence to Anna R. Docherty.

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This work was funded by the National Institutes of Health (MH093731 to ARD; MH020030 and MH111229 to AAM), and the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation (ARD).

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Moore, A.A., Sawyers, C., Adkins, D.E. et al. Opportunities for an enhanced integration of neuroscience and genomics. Brain Imaging and Behavior 12, 1211–1219 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11682-017-9780-1

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  • Imaging
  • Neuroimaging
  • MRI
  • Genetic
  • Genomic
  • GWAS
  • Polygenic