Neuron 2010 Oct;68(2):218-30
Center for Neurobehavioral Genetics, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.
Elucidating the molecular mechanisms underlying quantitative neurocognitive phenotypes will further our understanding of the brain's structural and functional architecture and advance the diagnosis and treatment of the psychiatric disorders that these traits underlie. Although many neurocognitive traits are highly heritable, little progress has been made in identifying genetic variants unequivocally associated with these phenotypes. A major obstacle to such progress is the difficulty in identifying heritable neurocognitive measures that are precisely defined and systematically assessed and represent unambiguous mental constructs, yet are also amenable to the high-throughput phenotyping necessary to obtain adequate power for genetic association studies. In this perspective we compare the current status of genetic investigations of neurocognitive phenotypes to that of other categories of biomedically relevant traits and suggest strategies for genetically dissecting traits that may underlie disorders of brain and behavior.