Displaying 1 - 100 of 286
  • Burenkova, O. V., & Fisher, S. E. (in press). Genetic insights into the neurobiology of speech and language. In E. Grigorenko, Y. Shtyrov, & P. McCardle (Eds.), All About Language: Science, Theory, and Practice. Baltimore, MD: Paul Brookes Publishing, Inc.
  • Fisher, S. E. (in press). Genes and language: Key issues and ways forward. In P. Hagoort (Ed.), Human language: From genes and brain to behavior. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Blasi, D. E., Moran, S., Moisik, S. R., Widmer, P., Dediu, D., & Bickel, B. (2019). Human sound systems are shaped by post-Neolithic changes in bite configuration. Science, 363(6432): eaav3218. doi:10.1126/science.aav3218.

    Abstract

    Linguistic diversity, now and in the past, is widely regarded to be independent of biological changes that took place after the emergence of Homo sapiens. We show converging evidence from paleoanthropology, speech biomechanics, ethnography, and historical linguistics that labiodental sounds (such as “f” and “v”) were innovated after the Neolithic. Changes in diet attributable to food-processing technologies modified the human bite from an edge-to-edge configuration to one that preserves adolescent overbite and overjet into adulthood. This change favored the emergence and maintenance of labiodentals. Our findings suggest that language is shaped not only by the contingencies of its history, but also by culturally induced changes in human biology.

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  • Carrion Castillo, A., Van der Haegen, L., Tzourio-Mazoyer, N., Kavaklioglu, T., Badillo, S., Chavent, M., Saracco, J., Brysbaert, M., Fisher, S. E., Mazoyer, B., & Francks, C. (2019). Genome sequencing for rightward hemispheric language dominance. Genes, Brain and Behavior. Advance online publication. doi:10.1111/gbb.12572.

    Abstract

    Most people have left‐hemisphere dominance for various aspects of language processing, but only roughly 1% of the adult population has atypically reversed, rightward hemispheric language dominance (RHLD). The genetic‐developmental program that underlies leftward language laterality is unknown, as are the causes of atypical variation. We performed an exploratory whole‐genome‐sequencing study, with the hypothesis that strongly penetrant, rare genetic mutations might sometimes be involved in RHLD. This was by analogy with situs inversus of the visceral organs (left‐right mirror reversal of the heart, lungs and so on), which is sometimes due to monogenic mutations. The genomes of 33 subjects with RHLD were sequenced and analyzed with reference to large population‐genetic data sets, as well as 34 subjects (14 left‐handed) with typical language laterality. The sample was powered to detect rare, highly penetrant, monogenic effects if they would be present in at least 10 of the 33 RHLD cases and no controls, but no individual genes had mutations in more than five RHLD cases while being un‐mutated in controls. A hypothesis derived from invertebrate mechanisms of left‐right axis formation led to the detection of an increased mutation load, in RHLD subjects, within genes involved with the actin cytoskeleton. The latter finding offers a first, tentative insight into molecular genetic influences on hemispheric language dominance.

    Supplementary material

    gbb12572-sup-0001-AppendixS1.docx
  • Castells-Nobau, A., Eidhof, I., Fenckova, M., Brenman-Suttner, D. B., Scheffer-de Gooyert, J. M., Christine, S., Schellevis, R. L., Van der Laan, K., Quentin, C., Van Ninhuijs, L., Hofmann, F., Ejsmont, R., Fisher, S. E., Kramer, J. M., Sigrist, S. J., Simon, A. F., & Schenck, A. (2019). Conserved regulation of neurodevelopmental processes and behavior by FoxP in Drosophila. PLoS One, 14(2): e211652. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0211652.

    Abstract

    FOXP proteins form a subfamily of evolutionarily conserved transcription factors involved in the development and functioning of several tissues, including the central nervous system. In humans, mutations in FOXP1 and FOXP2 have been implicated in cognitive deficits including intellectual disability and speech disorders. Drosophila exhibits a single ortholog, called FoxP, but due to a lack of characterized mutants, our understanding of the gene remains poor. Here we show that the dimerization property required for mammalian FOXP function is conserved in Drosophila. In flies, FoxP is enriched in the adult brain, showing strong expression in ~1000 neurons of cholinergic, glutamatergic and GABAergic nature. We generate Drosophila loss-of-function mutants and UAS-FoxP transgenic lines for ectopic expression, and use them to characterize FoxP function in the nervous system. At the cellular level, we demonstrate that Drosophila FoxP is required in larvae for synaptic morphogenesis at axonal terminals of the neuromuscular junction and for dendrite development of dorsal multidendritic sensory neurons. In the developing brain, we find that FoxP plays important roles in α-lobe mushroom body formation. Finally, at a behavioral level, we show that Drosophila FoxP is important for locomotion, habituation learning and social space behavior of adult flies. Our work shows that Drosophila FoxP is important for regulating several neurodevelopmental processes and behaviors that are related to human disease or vertebrate disease model phenotypes. This suggests a high degree of functional conservation with vertebrate FOXP orthologues and established flies as a model system for understanding FOXP related pathologies.
  • Dediu, D., & Moisik, S. R. (2019). Pushes and pulls from below: Anatomical variation, articulation and sound change. Glossa: A Journal of General Linguistics, 4(1): 7. doi:10.5334/gjgl.646.

    Abstract

    This paper argues that inter-individual and inter-group variation in language acquisition, perception, processing and production, rooted in our biology, may play a largely neglected role in sound change. We begin by discussing the patterning of these differences, highlighting those related to vocal tract anatomy with a foundation in genetics and development. We use our ArtiVarK database, a large multi-ethnic sample comprising 3D intraoral optical scans, as well as structural, static and real-time MRI scans of vocal tract anatomy and speech articulation, to quantify the articulatory strategies used to produce the North American English /r/ and to statistically show that anatomical factors seem to influence these articulatory strategies. Building on work showing that these alternative articulatory strategies may have indirect coarticulatory effects, we propose two models for how biases due to variation in vocal tract anatomy may affect sound change. The first involves direct overt acoustic effects of such biases that are then reinterpreted by the hearers, while the second is based on indirect coarticulatory phenomena generated by acoustically covert biases that produce overt “at-a-distance” acoustic effects. This view implies that speaker communities might be “poised” for change because they always contain pools of “standing variation” of such biased speakers, and when factors such as the frequency of the biased speakers in the community, their positions in the communicative network or the topology of the network itself change, sound change may rapidly follow as a self-reinforcing network-level phenomenon, akin to a phase transition. Thus, inter-speaker variation in structured and dynamic communicative networks may couple the initiation and actuation of sound change.
  • Demontis, D., Walters, R. K., Martin, J., Mattheisen, M., Als, T. D., Agerbo, E., Baldursson, G., Belliveau, R., Bybjerg-Grauholm, J., Bækvad-Hansen, M., Cerrato, F., Chambert, K., Churchhouse, C., Dumont, A., Eriksson, N., Gandal, M., Goldstein, J. I., Grasby, K. L., Grove, J., Gudmundsson, O. O., Hansen, C. S., Hauberg, M. E., Hollegaard, M. V., Howrigan, D. P., Huang, H., Maller, J. B., Martin, A. R., Martin, N. G., Moran, J., Pallesen, J., Palmer, D. S., Pedersen, C. B., Pedersen, M. G., Poterba, T., Poulsen, J. B., Ripke, S., Robinson, E. B., Satterstrom, F. K., Stefansson, H., Stevens, C., Turley, P., Walters, G. B., Won, H., Wright, M. J., ADHD Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC), EArly Genetics and Lifecourse Epidemiology (EAGLE) Consortium, 23andme Research Team, Andreassen, O. A., Asherson, P., Burton, C. L., Boomsma, D. I., Cormand, B., Dalsgaard, S., Franke, B., Gelernter, J., Geschwind, D., Hakonarson, H., Haavik, J., Kranzler, H. R., Kuntsi, J., Langley, K., Lesch, K.-P., Middeldorp, C., Reif, A., Rohde, L. A., Roussos, P., Schachar, R., Sklar, P., Sonuga-Barke, E. J. S., Sullivan, P. F., Thapar, A., Tung, J. Y., Waldman, I. D., Medland, S. E., Stefansson, K., Nordentoft, M., Hougaard, D. M., Werge, T., Mors, O., Mortensen, P. B., Daly, M. J., Faraone, S. V., Børglum, A. D., & Neale, B. (2019). Discovery of the first genome-wide significant risk loci for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Nature Genetics, 51, 63-75. doi:10.1038/s41588-018-0269-7.

    Abstract

    Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a highly heritable childhood behavioral disorder affecting 5% of children and 2.5% of adults. Common genetic variants contribute substantially to ADHD susceptibility, but no variants have been robustly associated with ADHD. We report a genome-wide association meta-analysis of 20,183 individuals diagnosed with ADHD and 35,191 controls that identifies variants surpassing genome-wide significance in 12 independent loci, finding important new information about the underlying biology of ADHD. Associations are enriched in evolutionarily constrained genomic regions and loss-of-function intolerant genes and around brain-expressed regulatory marks. Analyses of three replication studies: a cohort of individuals diagnosed with ADHD, a self-reported ADHD sample and a meta-analysis of quantitative measures of ADHD symptoms in the population, support these findings while highlighting study-specific differences on genetic overlap with educational attainment. Strong concordance with GWAS of quantitative population measures of ADHD symptoms supports that clinical diagnosis of ADHD is an extreme expression of continuous heritable traits.
  • Devanna, P., Dediu, D., & Vernes, S. C. (2019). The Genetics of Language: From complex genes to complex communication. In S.-A. Rueschemeyer, & M. G. Gaskell (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Psycholinguistics (2nd ed., pp. 865-898). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Abstract

    This chapter discusses the genetic foundations of the human capacity for language. It reviews the molecular structure of the genome and the complex molecular mechanisms that allow genetic information to influence multiple levels of biology. It goes on to describe the active regulation of genes and their formation of complex genetic pathways that in turn control the cellular environment and function. At each of these levels, examples of genes and genetic variants that may influence the human capacity for language are given. Finally, it discusses the value of using animal models to understand the genetic underpinnings of speech and language. From this chapter will emerge the complexity of the genome in action and the multidisciplinary efforts that are currently made to bridge the gap between genetics and language.
  • Eising, E., Carrion Castillo, A., Vino, A., Strand, E. A., Jakielski, K. J., Scerri, T. S., Hildebrand, M. S., Webster, R., Ma, A., Mazoyer, B., Francks, C., Bahlo, M., Scheffer, I. E., Morgan, A. T., Shriberg, L. D., & Fisher, S. E. (2019). A set of regulatory genes co-expressed in embryonic human brain is implicated in disrupted speech development. Molecular Psychiatry, 24, 1065-1078. doi:10.1038/s41380-018-0020-x.

    Abstract

    Genetic investigations of people with impaired development of spoken language provide windows into key aspects of human biology. Over 15 years after FOXP2 was identified, most speech and language impairments remain unexplained at the molecular level. We sequenced whole genomes of nineteen unrelated individuals diagnosed with childhood apraxia of speech, a rare disorder enriched for causative mutations of large effect. Where DNA was available from unaffected parents, we discovered de novo mutations, implicating genes, including CHD3, SETD1A and WDR5. In other probands, we identified novel loss-of-function variants affecting KAT6A, SETBP1, ZFHX4, TNRC6B and MKL2, regulatory genes with links to neurodevelopment. Several of the new candidates interact with each other or with known speech-related genes. Moreover, they show significant clustering within a single co-expression module of genes highly expressed during early human brain development. This study highlights gene regulatory pathways in the developing brain that may contribute to acquisition of proficient speech.

    Supplementary material

    Eising_etal_2018sup.pdf
  • Fisher, S. E. (2019). Human genetics: The evolving story of FOXP2. Current Biology, 29(2), R65-R67. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2018.11.047.

    Abstract

    FOXP2 mutations cause a speech and language disorder, raising interest in potential roles of this gene in human evolution. A new study re-evaluates genomic variation at the human FOXP2 locus but finds no evidence of recent adaptive evolution.
  • Francks, C. (2019). In search of the biological roots of typical and atypical human brain asymmetry. Physics of Life Reviews. Advance online publication. doi:10.1016/j.plrev.2019.07.004.
  • French, C. A., Vinueza Veloz, M. F., Zhou, K., Peter, S., Fisher, S. E., Costa, R. M., & De Zeeuw, C. I. (2019). Differential effects of Foxp2 disruption in distinct motor circuits. Molecular Psychiatry, 24, 447-462. doi:10.1038/s41380-018-0199-x.

    Abstract

    Disruptions of the FOXP2 gene cause a speech and language disorder involving difficulties in sequencing orofacial movements. FOXP2 is expressed in cortico-striatal and cortico-cerebellar circuits important for fine motor skills, and affected individuals show abnormalities in these brain regions. We selectively disrupted Foxp2 in the cerebellar Purkinje cells, striatum or cortex of mice and assessed the effects on skilled motor behaviour using an operant lever-pressing task. Foxp2 loss in each region impacted behaviour differently, with striatal and Purkinje cell disruptions affecting the variability and the speed of lever-press sequences, respectively. Mice lacking Foxp2 in Purkinje cells showed a prominent phenotype involving slowed lever pressing as well as deficits in skilled locomotion. In vivo recordings from Purkinje cells uncovered an increased simple spike firing rate and decreased modulation of firing during limb movements. This was caused by increased intrinsic excitability rather than changes in excitatory or inhibitory inputs. Our findings show that Foxp2 can modulate different aspects of motor behaviour in distinct brain regions, and uncover an unknown role for Foxp2 in the modulation of Purkinje cell activity that severely impacts skilled movements.
  • Gialluisi, A., Andlauer, T., Mirza-Schreiber, N., Moll, K., Becker, J., Hoffmann, P., Ludwig, K., Czamara, D., St Pourcain, B., Brandler, W., Honbolygó, F., Tóth, D., Csépe, V., Huguet, G., Morris, A., Hulslander, J., Willcutt, E., DeFries, J., Olson, R., Smith, S., Pennington, B., Vaessen, A., Maurer, U., Lyytinen, H., Peyrard-Janvid, M., Leppänen, P., Brandeis, D., Bonte, M., Stein, J., Talcott, J., Fauchereau, F., Wilcke, A., Francks, C., Bourgeron, T., Monaco, A., Ramus, F., Landerl, K., Kere, J., Scerri, T., Paracchini, S., Fisher, S. E., Schumacher, J., Nöthen, M., Müller-Myhsok, B., & Schulte-Körne, G. (2019). Genome-wide association scan identifies new variants associated with a cognitive predictor of dyslexia. Translational Psychiatry, 9(1): 77. doi:10.1038/s41398-019-0402-0.

    Abstract

    Developmental dyslexia (DD) is one of the most prevalent learning disorders, with high impact on school and psychosocial development and high comorbidity with conditions like attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, and anxiety. DD is characterized by deficits in different cognitive skills, including word reading, spelling, rapid naming, and phonology. To investigate the genetic basis of DD, we conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of these skills within one of the largest studies available, including nine cohorts of reading-impaired and typically developing children of European ancestry (N = 2562–3468). We observed a genome-wide significant effect (p < 1 × 10−8) on rapid automatized naming of letters (RANlet) for variants on 18q12.2, within MIR924HG (micro-RNA 924 host gene; rs17663182 p = 4.73 × 10−9), and a suggestive association on 8q12.3 within NKAIN3 (encoding a cation transporter; rs16928927, p = 2.25 × 10−8). rs17663182 (18q12.2) also showed genome-wide significant multivariate associations with RAN measures (p = 1.15 × 10−8) and with all the cognitive traits tested (p = 3.07 × 10−8), suggesting (relational) pleiotropic effects of this variant. A polygenic risk score (PRS) analysis revealed significant genetic overlaps of some of the DD-related traits with educational attainment (EDUyears) and ADHD. Reading and spelling abilities were positively associated with EDUyears (p ~ [10−5–10−7]) and negatively associated with ADHD PRS (p ~ [10−8−10−17]). This corroborates a long-standing hypothesis on the partly shared genetic etiology of DD and ADHD, at the genome-wide level. Our findings suggest new candidate DD susceptibility genes and provide new insights into the genetics of dyslexia and its comorbities.
  • Grove, J., Ripke, S., Als, T. D., Mattheisen, M., Walters, R., Won, H., Pallesen, J., Agerbo, E., Andreassen, O. A., Anney, R., Belliveau, R., Bettella, F., Buxbaum, J. D., Bybjerg-Grauholm, J., Bækved-Hansen, M., Cerrato, F., Chambert, K., Christensen, J. H., Churchhouse, C., Dellenvall, K., Demontis, D., De Rubeis, S., Devlin, B., Djurovic, S., Dumont, A., Goldstein, J., Hansen, C. S., Hauberg, M. E., Hollegaard, M. V., Hope, S., Howrigan, D. P., Huang, H., Hultman, C., Klei, L., Maller, J., Martin, J., Martin, A. R., Moran, J., Nyegaard, M., Nærland, T., Palmer, D. S., Palotie, A., Pedersen, C. B., Pedersen, M. G., Poterba, T., Poulsen, J. B., St Pourcain, B., Qvist, P., Rehnström, K., Reichenberg, A., Reichert, J., Robinson, E. B., Roeder, K., Roussos, P., Saemundsen, E., Sandin, S., Satterstrom, F. K., Smith, G. D., Stefansson, H., Stefansson, K., Steinberg, S., Stevens, C., Sullivan, P. F., Turley, P., Walters, G. B., Xu, X., Autism Spectrum Disorders Working Group of The Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, BUPGEN, Major Depressive Disorder Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, Me Research Team, Geschwind, D., Nordentoft, M., Hougaard, D. M., Werge, T., Mors, O., Mortensen, P. B., Neale, B. M., Daly, M. J., & Børglum, A. D. (2019). Identification of common genetic risk variants for autism spectrum disorder. Nature Genetics, 51, 431-444. doi:10.1038/s41588-019-0344-8.

    Abstract

    Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a highly heritable and heterogeneous group of neurodevelopmental phenotypes diagnosed in more than 1% of children. Common genetic variants contribute substantially to ASD susceptibility, but to date no individual variants have been robustly associated with ASD. With a marked sample-size increase from a unique Danish population resource, we report a genome-wide association meta-analysis of 18,381 individuals with ASD and 27,969 controls that identified five genome-wide-significant loci. Leveraging GWAS results from three phenotypes with significantly overlapping genetic architectures (schizophrenia, major depression, and educational attainment), we identified seven additional loci shared with other traits at equally strict significance levels. Dissecting the polygenic architecture, we found both quantitative and qualitative polygenic heterogeneity across ASD subtypes. These results highlight biological insights, particularly relating to neuronal function and corticogenesis, and establish that GWAS performed at scale will be much more productive in the near term in ASD.

    Supplementary material

    Supplementary Text and Figures
  • Gunz, P., Tilot, A. K., Wittfeld, K., Teumer, A., Shapland, C. Y., Van Erp, T. G. M., Dannemann, M., Vernot, B., Neubauer, S., Guadalupe, T., Fernandez, G., Brunner, H., Enard, W., Fallon, J., Hosten, N., Völker, U., Profico, A., Di Vincenzo, F., Manzi, G., Kelso, J., St Pourcain, B., Hublin, J.-J., Franontike, B., Pääbo, S., Macciardi, F., Grabe, H. J., & Fisher, S. E. (2019). Neandertal introgression sheds light on modern human endocranial globularity. Current Biology, 29(1), 120-127. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2018.10.065.

    Abstract

    One of the features that distinguishes modern humans from our extinct relatives and ancestors is a globular shape of the braincase [1-4]. As the endocranium closely mirrors the outer shape of the brain, these differences might reflect altered neural architecture [4,5]. However, in the absence of fossil brain tissue the underlying neuroanatomical changes as well as their genetic bases remain elusive. To better understand the biological foundations of modern human endocranial shape, we turn to our closest extinct relatives, the Neandertals. Interbreeding between modern humans and Neandertals has resulted in introgressed fragments of Neandertal DNA in the genomes of present-day non- Africans [6,7]. Based on shape analyses of fossil skull endocasts, we derive a measure of endocranial globularity from structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of thousands of modern humans, and study the effects of introgressed fragments of Neandertal DNA on this phenotype. We find that Neandertal alleles on chromosomes 1 and 18 are associated with reduced endocranial globularity. These alleles influence expression of two nearby genes, UBR4 and PHLPP1, which are involved in neurogenesis and myelination, respectively. Our findings show how integration of fossil skull data with archaic genomics and neuroimaging can suggest developmental mechanisms that may contribute to the unique modern human endocranial shape.

    Supplementary material

    mmc1.pdf mmc2.xlsx
  • Haworth, S., Shapland, C. Y., Hayward, C., Prins, B. P., Felix, J. F., Medina-Gomez, C., Rivadeneira, F., Wang, C., Ahluwalia, T. S., Vrijheid, M., Guxens, M., Sunyer, J., Tachmazidou, I., Walter, K., Iotchkova, V., Jackson, A., Cleal, L., Huffmann, J., Min, J. L., Sass, L., Timmers, P. R. H. J., UK10K consortium, Davey Smith, G., Fisher, S. E., Wilson, J. F., Cole, T. J., Fernandez-Orth, D., Bønnelykke, K., Bisgaard, H., Pennell, C. E., Jaddoe, V. W. V., Dedoussis, G., Timpson, N. J., Zeggini, E., Vitart, V., & St Pourcain, B. (2019). Low-frequency variation in TP53 has large effects on head circumference and intracranial volume. Nature Communications, 10: 357. doi:10.1038/s41467-018-07863-x.

    Abstract

    Cranial growth and development is a complex process which affects the closely related traits of head circumference (HC) and intracranial volume (ICV). The underlying genetic influences affecting these traits during the transition from childhood to adulthood are little understood, but might include both age-specific genetic influences and low-frequency genetic variation. To understand these influences, we model the developmental genetic architecture of HC, showing this is genetically stable and correlated with genetic determinants of ICV. Investigating up to 46,000 children and adults of European descent, we identify association with final HC and/or final ICV+HC at 9 novel common and low-frequency loci, illustrating that genetic variation from a wide allele frequency spectrum contributes to cranial growth. The largest effects are reported for low-frequency variants within TP53, with 0.5 cm wider heads in increaser-allele carriers versus non-carriers during mid-childhood, suggesting a previously unrecognized role of TP53 transcripts in human cranial development.

    Supplementary material

    Supplementary Information
  • Howe, L. J., Richardson, T. G., Arathimos, R., Alvizi, L., Passos-Bueno, M. R., Stanier, P., Nohr, E., Ludwig, K. U., Mangold, E., Knapp, M., Stergiakouli, E., St Pourcain, B., Smith, G. D., Sandy, J., Relton, C. L., Lewis, S. J., Hemani, G., & Sharp, G. C. (2019). Evidence for DNA methylation mediating genetic liability to non-syndromic cleft lip/palate. Epigenomics, 11(2), 133-145. doi:10.2217/epi-2018-0091.

    Abstract

    Aim: To determine if nonsyndromic cleft lip with or without cleft palate (nsCL/P) genetic risk variants influence liability to nsCL/P through gene regulation pathways, such as those involving DNA methylation. Materials & methods: nsCL/P genetic summary data and methylation data from four studies were used in conjunction with Mendelian randomization and joint likelihood mapping to investigate potential mediation of nsCL/P genetic variants. Results & conclusion: Evidence was found at VAX1 (10q25.3), LOC146880 (17q23.3) and NTN1 (17p13.1), that liability to nsCL/P and variation in DNA methylation might be driven by the same genetic variant, suggesting that genetic variation at these loci may increase liability to nsCL/P by influencing DNA methylation. Follow-up analyses using different tissues and gene expression data provided further insight into possible biological mechanisms.

    Supplementary material

    Supplementary material
  • Janssen, R., Moisik, S. R., & Dediu, D. (2019). The effects of larynx height on vowel production are mitigated by the active control of articulators. Journal of Phonetics, 74, 1-17. doi:10.1016/j.wocn.2019.02.002.

    Abstract

    The influence of larynx position on vowel articulation is an important topic in understanding speech production, the present-day distribution of linguistic diversity and the evolution of speech and language in our lineage. We introduce here a realistic computer model of the vocal tract, constructed from actual human MRI data, which can learn, using machine learning techniques, to control the articulators in such a way as to produce speech sounds matching as closely as possible to a given set of target vowels. We systematically control the vertical position of the larynx and we quantify the differences between the target and produced vowels for each such position across multiple replications. We report that, indeed, larynx height does affect the accuracy of reproducing the target vowels and the distinctness of the produced vowel system, that there is a “sweet spot” of larynx positions that are optimal for vowel production, but that nevertheless, even extreme larynx positions do not result in a collapsed or heavily distorted vowel space that would make speech unintelligible. Together with other lines of evidence, our results support the view that the vowel space of human languages is influenced by our larynx position, but that other positions of the larynx may also be fully compatible with speech.

    Supplementary material

    Research Data via Github
  • Klingler, E., De la Rossa, A., Fièvre, S., Devaraju, K., Abe, P., & Jabaudon, D. (2019). A translaminar genetic logic for the circuit identity of intracortically projecting neurons. Current Biology, 29(2), 332-339. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2018.11.071.

    Abstract

    Neurons of the neocortex are organized into six radial layers, which have appeared at different times during evolution, with the superficial layers representing a more recent acquisition. Input to the neocortex predominantly reaches superficial layers (SL, i.e., layers (L) 2-4), while output is generated in deep layers (DL, i.e., L5-6) [1]. Intracortical connections, which bridge input and output pathways, are key components of cortical circuits because they allow the propagation and processing of information within the neocortex. Two main types of intracortically projecting neurons (ICPN) can be distinguished by their axonal features: L4 spiny stellate neurons (SSN) with short axons projecting locally within cortical columns [2, 3, 4, 5], and SL and DL long-range projection neurons, including callosally projecting neurons (CPNSL and CPNDL) [5, 6]. Here, we investigate the molecular hallmarks that distinguish SSN, CPNSL, and CPNDL and relate their transcriptional signatures with their output connectivity. Specifically, taking advantage of the presence of CPN in both SL and DL, we identify lamina-independent genetic hallmarks of a constant projection motif (i.e., interhemispheric projection). By performing unbiased transcriptomic comparisons between CPNSL, CPNDL and SSN, we provide specific molecular profiles for each of these populations and show that target identity supersedes laminar position in defining ICPN transcriptional diversity. Together, these findings reveal a projection-based organization of transcriptional programs across cortical layers, which we propose reflects conserved strategy to protect canonical circuit structure (and hence function) across a diverse range of neuroanatomies.

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  • Kong, X., Boedhoe, P. S. W., Abe, Y., Alonso, P., Ameis, S. H., Arnold, P. D., Assogna, F., Baker, J. T., Batistuzzo, M. C., Benedetti, F., Beucke, J. C., Bollettini, I., Bose, A., Brem, S., Brennan, B. P., Buitelaar, J., Calvo, R., Cheng, Y., Cho, K. I. K., Dallaspezia, S., Denys, D., Ely, B. A., Feusner, J., Fitzgerald, K. D., Fouche, J.-P., Fridgeirsson, E. A., Glahn, D. C., Gruner, P., Gürsel, D. A., Hauser, T. U., Hirano, Y., Hoexter, M. Q., Hu, H., Huyser, C., James, A., Jaspers-Fayer, F., Kathmann, N., Kaufmann, C., Koch, K., Kuno, M., Kvale, G., Kwon, J. S., Lazaro, L., Liu, Y., Lochner, C., Marques, P., Marsh, R., Martínez-Zalacaín, I., Mataix-Cols, D., Medland, S. E., Menchón, J. M., Minuzzi, L., Moreira, P. S., Morer, A., Morgado, P., Nakagawa, A., Nakamae, T., Nakao, T., Narayanaswamy, J. C., Nurmi, E. L., O'Neill, J., Pariente, J. C., Perriello, C., Piacentini, J., Piras, F., Piras, F., Pittenger, C., Reddy, Y. J., Rus-Oswald, O. G., Sakai, Y., Sato, J. R., Schmaal, L., Simpson, H. B., Soreni, N., Soriano-Mas, C., Spalletta, G., Stern, E. R., Stevens, M. C., Stewart, S. E., Szeszko, P. R., Tolin, D. F., Tsuchiyagaito, A., Van Rooij, D., Van Wingen, G. A., Venkatasubramanian, G., Wang, Z., Yun, J.-Y., ENIGMA-OCD Working Group, Thompson, P. M., Stein, D. J., Van den Heuvel, O. A., & Francks, C. (2019). Mapping cortical and subcortical asymmetry in obsessive-compulsive disorder: Findings from the ENIGMA Consortium. Biological Psychiatry. Advance online publication. doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2019.04.022.

    Abstract

    Objective Lateralized dysfunction has been suggested in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). However, it is currently unclear whether OCD is characterized by abnormal patterns of structural brain asymmetry. Here we carried out by far the largest study of brain structural asymmetry in OCD. Method We studied a collection of 16 pediatric datasets (501 OCD patients and 439 healthy controls), as well as 30 adult datasets (1777 patients and 1654 controls) from the OCD Working Group within the ENIGMA (Enhancing Neuro-Imaging Genetics through Meta-Analysis) consortium. Asymmetries of the volumes of subcortical structures, and of regional cortical thickness and surface area measures, were assessed based on T1-weighted MRI scans, using harmonized image analysis and quality control protocols. We investigated possible alterations of brain asymmetry in OCD patients. We also explored potential associations of asymmetry with specific aspects of the disorder and medication status. Results In the pediatric datasets, the largest case-control differences were observed for volume asymmetry of the thalamus (more leftward; Cohen’s d = 0.19) and the pallidum (less leftward; d = -0.21). Additional analyses suggested putative links between these asymmetry patterns and medication status, OCD severity, and/or anxiety and depression comorbidities. No significant case-control differences were found in the adult datasets. Conclusions The results suggest subtle changes of the average asymmetry of subcortical structures in pediatric OCD, which are not detectable in adults with the disorder. These findings may reflect altered neurodevelopmental processes in OCD.
  • De Kovel, C. G. F., Carrion Castillo, A., & Francks, C. (2019). A large-scale population study of early life factors influencing left-handedness. Scientific Reports, 9: 584. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-37423-8.

    Abstract

    Hand preference is a conspicuous variation in human behaviour, with a worldwide proportion of around 90% of people preferring to use the right hand for many tasks, and 10% the left hand. We used the large cohort of the UK biobank (~500,000 participants) to study possible relations between early life factors and adult hand preference. The probability of being left-handed was affected by the year and location of birth, likely due to cultural effects. In addition, hand preference was affected by birthweight, being part of a multiple birth, season of birth, breastfeeding, and sex, with each effect remaining significant after accounting for all others. Analysis of genome-wide genotype data showed that left-handedness was very weakly heritable, but shared no genetic basis with birthweight. Although on average left-handers and right-handers differed for a number of early life factors, all together these factors had only a minimal predictive value for individual hand preference.

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    Supplementary information
  • De Kovel, C. G. F., & Francks, C. (2019). The molecular genetics of hand preference revisited. Scientific Reports, 9: 5986. doi:10.1038/s41598-019-42515-0.

    Abstract

    Hand preference is a prominent behavioural trait linked to human brain asymmetry. A handful of genetic variants have been reported to associate with hand preference or quantitative measures related to it. Most of these reports were on the basis of limited sample sizes, by current standards for genetic analysis of complex traits. Here we performed a genome-wide association analysis of hand preference in the large, population-based UK Biobank cohort (N = 331,037). We used gene-set enrichment analysis to investigate whether genes involved in visceral asymmetry are particularly relevant to hand preference, following one previous report. We found no evidence supporting any of the previously suggested variants or genes, nor that genes involved in visceral laterality have a role in hand preference. It remains possible that some of the previously reported genes or pathways are relevant to hand preference as assessed in other ways, or else are relevant within specific disorder populations. However, some or all of the earlier findings are likely to be false positives, and none of them appear relevant to hand preference as defined categorically in the general population. Our analysis did produce a small number of novel, significant associations, including one implicating the microtubule-associated gene MAP2 in handedness.
  • De Kovel, C. G. F., Aftanas, L., Aleman, A., Alexander-Bloch, A. F., Baune, B. T., Brack, I., Bülow, R., Filho, G. B., Carballedo, A., Connolly, C. G., Cullen, K. R., Dannlowski, U., Davey, C. G., Dima, D., Dohm, K., Erwin-Grabner, T., Frodl, T., Fu, C. H., Hall, G. B., Glahn, D. C., Godlewska, B., Gotlib, I. H., Goya-Maldonado, R., Grabe, H. J., Groenewold, N. A., Grotegerd, D., Gruber, O., Harris, M. A., Harrison, B. J., Hatton, S. N., Hickie, I. B., Ho, T. C., Jahanshad, N., Kircher, T., Krämer, B., Krug, A., Lagopoulos, J., Leehr, E. J., Li, M., MacMaster, F. P., MacQueen, G., McIntosh, A. M., McLellan, Q., Medland, S. E., Mueller, B. A., Nenadic, I., Osipov, E., Papmeyer, M., Portella, M. J., Reneman, L., Rosa, P. G., Sacchet, M. D., Schnell, K., Schrantee, A., Sim, K., Simulionyte, E., Sindermann, L., Singh, A., Stein, D. J., Ubani, B. N., der Wee, N. J. V., der Werff, S. J. V., Veer, I. M., Vives-Gilabert, Y., Völzke, H., Walter, H., Walter, M., Schreiner, M. W., Whalley, H., Winter, N., Wittfeld, K., Yang, T. T., Yüksel, D., Zaremba, D., Thompson, P. M., Veltman, D. J., Schmaal, L., & Francks, C. (2019). No alterations of brain structural asymmetry in major depressive disorder: An ENIGMA consortium analysis. American Journal of Psychiatry. Advance online publication. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2019.18101144.

    Abstract

    Objective: Asymmetry is a subtle but pervasive aspect of the human brain, and it may be altered in several psychiatric conditions. MRI studies have shown subtle differences of brain anatomy between people with major depressive disorder and healthy control subjects, but few studies have specifically examined brain anatomical asymmetry in relation to this disorder, and results from those studies have remained inconclusive. At the functional level, some electroencephalography studies have indicated left fronto-cortical hypoactivity and right parietal hypoactivity in depressive disorders, so aspects of lateralized anatomy may also be affected. The authors used pooled individual-level data from data sets collected around the world to investigate differences in laterality in measures of cortical thickness, cortical surface area, and subcortical volume between individuals with major depression and healthy control subjects. Methods: The authors investigated differences in the laterality of thickness and surface area measures of 34 cerebral cortical regions in 2,256 individuals with major depression and 3,504 control subjects from 31 separate data sets, and they investigated volume asymmetries of eight subcortical structures in 2,540 individuals with major depression and 4,230 control subjects from 32 data sets. T1-weighted MRI data were processed with a single protocol using FreeSurfer and the Desikan-Killiany atlas. The large sample size provided 80% power to detect effects of the order of Cohen’s d=0.1. Results: The largest effect size (Cohen’s d) of major depression diagnosis was 0.085 for the thickness asymmetry of the superior temporal cortex, which was not significant after adjustment for multiple testing. Asymmetry measures were not significantly associated with medication use, acute compared with remitted status, first episode compared with recurrent status, or age at onset. Conclusions: Altered brain macro-anatomical asymmetry may be of little relevance to major depression etiology in most cases.
  • Liang, S., Li, Y., Zhang, Z., Kong, X., Wang, Q., Deng, W., Li, X., Zhao, L., Li, M., Meng, Y., Huang, F., Ma, X., Li, X.-m., Greenshaw, A. J., Shao, J., & Li, T. (2019). Classification of first-episode schizophrenia using multimodal brain features: A combined structural and diffusion imaging study. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 45(3), 591-599. doi:10.1093/schbul/sby091.

    Abstract

    Schizophrenia is a common and complex mental disorder with neuroimaging alterations. Recent neuroanatomical pattern recognition studies attempted to distinguish individuals with schizophrenia by structural magnetic resonance imaging (sMRI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). 1, 2 Applications of cutting-edge machine learning approaches in structural neuroimaging studies have revealed potential pathways to classification of schizophrenia based on regional gray matter volume (GMV) or density or cortical thickness. 3–5 Additionally, cortical folding may have high discriminatory value in correctly identifying symptom severity in schizophrenia. 6 Regional GMV and cortical thickness have also been combined in attempts to differentiate individuals with schizophrenia from healthy controls (HCs). 7 Applications of machine learning algorithms to diffusion imaging data analysis to predict individuals with first-episode schizophrenia (FES) have achieved encouraging accuracy. 8–10 White matter (WM) abnormalities in schizophrenia as estimated by DTI appear to be present in the early stage of the disorder, most likely reflecting the developmental stage of the sample of interest.

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    Supplementary data
  • Liang, S., Wang, Q., Kong, X., Deng, W., Yang, X., Li, X., Zhang, Z., Zhang, J., Zhang, C., Li, X.-m., Ma, X., Shao, J., Greenshaw, A. J., & Li, T. (2019). White matter abnormalities in major depression bibotypes identified by Diffusion Tensor Imaging. Neuroscience Bulletin. Advance online publication. doi:10.1007/s12264-019-00381-w.

    Abstract

    Identifying data-driven biotypes of major depressive disorder (MDD) has promise for the clarification of diagnostic heterogeneity. However, few studies have focused on white-matter abnormalities for MDD subtyping. This study included 116 patients with MDD and 118 demographically-matched healthy controls assessed by diffusion tensor imaging and neurocognitive evaluation. Hierarchical clustering was applied to the major fiber tracts, in conjunction with tract-based spatial statistics, to reveal white-matter alterations associated with MDD. Clinical and neurocognitive differences were compared between identified subgroups and healthy controls. With fractional anisotropy extracted from 20 fiber tracts, cluster analysis revealed 3 subgroups based on the patterns of abnormalities. Patients in each subgroup versus healthy controls showed a stepwise pattern of white-matter alterations as follows: subgroup 1 (25.9% of patient sample), widespread white-matter disruption; subgroup 2 (43.1% of patient sample), intermediate and more localized abnormalities in aspects of the corpus callosum and left cingulate; and subgroup 3 (31.0% of patient sample), possible mild alterations, but no statistically significant tract disruption after controlling for family-wise error. The neurocognitive impairment in each subgroup accompanied the white-matter alterations: subgroup 1, deficits in sustained attention and delayed memory; subgroup 2, dysfunction in delayed memory; and subgroup 3, no significant deficits. Three subtypes of white-matter abnormality exist in individuals with major depression, those having widespread abnormalities suffering more neurocognitive impairments, which may provide evidence for parsing the heterogeneity of the disorder and help optimize type-specific treatment approaches.

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    12264_2019_381_MOESM1_ESM.pdf
  • Middeldorp, C. M., Felix, J. F., Mahajan, A., EArly Genetics and Lifecourse Epidemiology (EAGLE) Consortium, Early Growth Genetics (EGG) consortium, & McCarthy, M. I. (2019). The Early Growth Genetics (EGG) and EArly Genetics and Lifecourse Epidemiology (EAGLE) consortia: Design, results and future prospects. European Journal of Epidemiology, 34(3), 279-300. doi:10.1007/s10654-019-00502-9.

    Abstract

    The impact of many unfavorable childhood traits or diseases, such as low birth weight and mental disorders, is not limited to childhood and adolescence, as they are also associated with poor outcomes in adulthood, such as cardiovascular disease. Insight into the genetic etiology of childhood and adolescent traits and disorders may therefore provide new perspectives, not only on how to improve wellbeing during childhood, but also how to prevent later adverse outcomes. To achieve the sample sizes required for genetic research, the Early Growth Genetics (EGG) and EArly Genetics and Lifecourse Epidemiology (EAGLE) consortia were established. The majority of the participating cohorts are longitudinal population-based samples, but other cohorts with data on early childhood phenotypes are also involved. Cohorts often have a broad focus and collect(ed) data on various somatic and psychiatric traits as well as environmental factors. Genetic variants have been successfully identified for multiple traits, for example, birth weight, atopic dermatitis, childhood BMI, allergic sensitization, and pubertal growth. Furthermore, the results have shown that genetic factors also partly underlie the association with adult traits. As sample sizes are still increasing, it is expected that future analyses will identify additional variants. This, in combination with the development of innovative statistical methods, will provide detailed insight on the mechanisms underlying the transition from childhood to adult disorders. Both consortia welcome new collaborations. Policies and contact details are available from the corresponding authors of this manuscript and/or the consortium websites.
  • Postema, M., De Marco, M., Colato, E., & Venneri, A. (2019). A study of within-subject reliability of the brain’s default-mode network. Magnetic Resonance Materials in Physics, Biology and Medicine, 32(3), 391-405. doi:10.1007/s10334-018-00732-0.

    Abstract

    Objective Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is promising for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). This study aimed to examine short-term reliability of the default-mode network (DMN), one of the main haemodynamic patterns of the brain. Materials and methods Using a 1.5 T Philips Achieva scanner, two consecutive resting-state fMRI runs were acquired on 69 healthy adults, 62 patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) due to AD, and 28 patients with AD dementia. The anterior and posterior DMN and, as control, the visual-processing network (VPN) were computed using two different methodologies: connectivity of predetermined seeds (theory-driven) and dual regression (data-driven). Divergence and convergence in network strength and topography were calculated with paired t tests, global correlation coefficients, voxel-based correlation maps, and indices of reliability. Results No topographical differences were found in any of the networks. High correlations and reliability were found in the posterior DMN of healthy adults and MCI patients. Lower reliability was found in the anterior DMN and in the VPN, and in the posterior DMN of dementia patients. Discussion Strength and topography of the posterior DMN appear relatively stable and reliable over a short-term period of acquisition but with some degree of variability across clinical samples.
  • Snijders Blok, L., Kleefstra, T., Venselaar, H., Maas, S., Kroes, H. Y., Lachmeijer, A. M. A., Van Gassen, K. L. I., Firth, H. V., Tomkins, S., Bodek, S., The DDD Study, Õunap, K., Wojcik, M. H., Cunniff, C., Bergstrom, K., Powis, Z., Tang, S., Shinde, D. N., Au, C., Iglesias, A. D., Izumi, K., Leonard, J., Tayoun, A. A., Baker, S. W., Tartaglia, M., Niceta, M., Dentici, M. L., Okamoto, N., Miyake, N., Matsumoto, N., Vitobello, A., Faivre, L., Philippe, C., Gilissen, C., Wiel, L., Pfundt, R., Derizioti, P., Brunner, H. G., & Fisher, S. E. (2019). De novo variants disturbing the transactivation capacity of POU3F3 cause a characteristic neurodevelopmental disorder. The American Journal of Human Genetics, 105(2), 403-412. doi:10.1016/j.ajhg.2019.06.007.

    Abstract

    POU3F3, also referred to as Brain-1, is a well-known transcription factor involved in the development of the central nervous system, but it has not previously been associated with a neurodevelopmental disorder. Here, we report the identification of 19 individuals with heterozygous POU3F3 disruptions, most of which are de novo variants. All individuals had developmental delays and/or intellectual disability and impairments in speech and language skills. Thirteen individuals had characteristic low-set, prominent, and/or cupped ears. Brain abnormalities were observed in seven of eleven MRI reports. POU3F3 is an intronless gene, insensitive to nonsense-mediated decay, and 13 individuals carried protein-truncating variants. All truncating variants that we tested in cellular models led to aberrant subcellular localization of the encoded protein. Luciferase assays demonstrated negative effects of these alleles on transcriptional activation of a reporter with a FOXP2-derived binding motif. In addition to the loss-of-function variants, five individuals had missense variants that clustered at specific positions within the functional domains, and one small in-frame deletion was identified. Two missense variants showed reduced transactivation capacity in our assays, whereas one variant displayed gain-of-function effects, suggesting a distinct pathophysiological mechanism. In bioluminescence resonance energy transfer (BRET) interaction assays, all the truncated POU3F3 versions that we tested had significantly impaired dimerization capacities, whereas all missense variants showed unaffected dimerization with wild-type POU3F3. Taken together, our identification and functional cell-based analyses of pathogenic variants in POU3F3, coupled with a clinical characterization, implicate disruptions of this gene in a characteristic neurodevelopmental disorder.
  • Truong, D. T., Adams, A. K., Paniagua, S., Frijters, J. C., Boada, R., Hill, D. E., Lovett, M. W., Mahone, E. M., Willcutt, E. G., Wolf, M., Defries, J. C., Gialluisi, A., Francks, C., Fisher, S. E., Olson, R. K., Pennington, B. F., Smith, S. D., Bosson-Heenan, J., & Gruen, J. R. (2019). Multivariate genome-wide association study of rapid automatised naming and rapid alternating stimulus in Hispanic American and African–American youth. Journal of Medical Genetics. Advance online publication. doi:10.1136/jmedgenet-2018-105874.

    Abstract

    Background Rapid automatised naming (RAN) and rapid alternating stimulus (RAS) are reliable predictors of reading disability. The underlying biology of reading disability is poorly understood. However, the high correlation among RAN, RAS and reading could be attributable to shared genetic factors that contribute to common biological mechanisms. Objective To identify shared genetic factors that contribute to RAN and RAS performance using a multivariate approach. Methods We conducted a multivariate genome-wide association analysis of RAN Objects, RAN Letters and RAS Letters/Numbers in a sample of 1331 Hispanic American and African–American youth. Follow-up neuroimaging genetic analysis of cortical regions associated with reading ability in an independent sample and epigenetic examination of extant data predicting tissue-specific functionality in the brain were also conducted. Results Genome-wide significant effects were observed at rs1555839 (p=4.03×10−8) and replicated in an independent sample of 318 children of European ancestry. Epigenetic analysis and chromatin state models of the implicated 70 kb region of 10q23.31 support active transcription of the gene RNLS in the brain, which encodes a catecholamine metabolising protein. Chromatin contact maps of adult hippocampal tissue indicate a potential enhancer–promoter interaction regulating RNLS expression. Neuroimaging genetic analysis in an independent, multiethnic sample (n=690) showed that rs1555839 is associated with structural variation in the right inferior parietal lobule. Conclusion This study provides support for a novel trait locus at chromosome 10q23.31 and proposes a potential gene–brain–behaviour relationship for targeted future functional analysis to understand underlying biological mechanisms for reading disability.

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    Supplementary data
  • Van Rhijn, J. R. (2019). The role of FoxP2 in striatal circuitry. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Verhoef, E., Demontis, D., Burgess, S., Shapland, C. Y., Dale, P. S., Okbay, A., Neale, B. M., Faraone, S. V., iPSYCH-Broad-PGC ADHD Consortium, Stergiakouli, E., Davey Smith, G., Fisher, S. E., Borglum, A., & St Pourcain, B. (2019). Disentangling polygenic associations between Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, educational attainment, literacy and language. Translational Psychiatry, 9: 35. doi:10.1038/s41398-018-0324-2.

    Abstract

    Interpreting polygenic overlap between ADHD and both literacy-related and language-related impairments is challenging as genetic associations might be influenced by indirectly shared genetic factors. Here, we investigate genetic overlap between polygenic ADHD risk and multiple literacy-related and/or language-related abilities (LRAs), as assessed in UK children (N ≤ 5919), accounting for genetically predictable educational attainment (EA). Genome-wide summary statistics on clinical ADHD and years of schooling were obtained from large consortia (N ≤ 326,041). Our findings show that ADHD-polygenic scores (ADHD-PGS) were inversely associated with LRAs in ALSPAC, most consistently with reading-related abilities, and explained ≤1.6% phenotypic variation. These polygenic links were then dissected into both ADHD effects shared with and independent of EA, using multivariable regressions (MVR). Conditional on EA, polygenic ADHD risk remained associated with multiple reading and/or spelling abilities, phonemic awareness and verbal intelligence, but not listening comprehension and non-word repetition. Using conservative ADHD-instruments (P-threshold < 5 × 10−8), this corresponded, for example, to a 0.35 SD decrease in pooled reading performance per log-odds in ADHD-liability (P = 9.2 × 10−5). Using subthreshold ADHD-instruments (P-threshold < 0.0015), these effects became smaller, with a 0.03 SD decrease per log-odds in ADHD risk (P = 1.4 × 10−6), although the predictive accuracy increased. However, polygenic ADHD-effects shared with EA were of equal strength and at least equal magnitude compared to those independent of EA, for all LRAs studied, and detectable using subthreshold instruments. Thus, ADHD-related polygenic links with LRAs are to a large extent due to shared genetic effects with EA, although there is evidence for an ADHD-specific association profile, independent of EA, that primarily involves literacy-related impairments.

    Supplementary material

    41398_2018_324_MOESM1_ESM.docx
  • Becker, M., Devanna, P., Fisher, S. E., & Vernes, S. C. (2018). Mapping of Human FOXP2 Enhancers Reveals Complex Regulation. Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience, 11: 47. doi:10.3389/fnmol.2018.00047.

    Abstract

    Mutations of the FOXP2 gene cause a severe speech and language disorder, providing a molecular window into the neurobiology of language. Individuals with FOXP2 mutations have structural and functional alterations affecting brain circuits that overlap with sites of FOXP2 expression, including regions of the cortex, striatum, and cerebellum. FOXP2 displays complex patterns of expression in the brain, as well as in non-neuronal tissues, suggesting that sophisticated regulatory mechanisms control its spatio-temporal expression. However, to date, little is known about the regulation of FOXP2 or the genomic elements that control its expression. Using chromatin conformation capture (3C), we mapped the human FOXP2 locus to identify putative enhancer regions that engage in long-range interactions with the promoter of this gene. We demonstrate the ability of the identified enhancer regions to drive gene expression. We also show regulation of the FOXP2 promoter and enhancer regions by candidate regulators – FOXP family and TBR1 transcription factors. These data point to regulatory elements that may contribute to the temporal- or tissue-specific expression patterns of human FOXP2. Understanding the upstream regulatory pathways controlling FOXP2 expression will bring new insight into the molecular networks contributing to human language and related disorders.
  • Bentz, C., Dediu, D., Verkerk, A., & Jäger, G. (2018). Language family trees reflect geography and demography beyond neutral drift. In C. Cuskley, M. Flaherty, H. Little, L. McCrohon, A. Ravignani, & T. Verhoef (Eds.), The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of the 12th International Conference (EVOLANGXII) (pp. 38-40). Toruń, Poland: NCU Press. doi:10.12775/3991-1.006.
  • Bentz, C., Dediu, D., Verkerk, A., & Jäger, G. (2018). The evolution of language families is shaped by the environment beyond neutral drift. Nature Human Behaviour, 2, 816-821. doi:10.1038/s41562-018-0457-6.

    Abstract

    There are more than 7,000 languages spoken in the world today1. It has been argued that the natural and social environment of languages drives this diversity. However, a fundamental question is how strong are environmental pressures, and does neutral drift suffice as a mechanism to explain diversification? We estimate the phylogenetic signals of geographic dimensions, distance to water, climate and population size on more than 6,000 phylogenetic trees of 46 language families. Phylogenetic signals of environmental factors are generally stronger than expected under the null hypothesis of no relationship with the shape of family trees. Importantly, they are also—in most cases—not compatible with neutral drift models of constant-rate change across the family tree branches. Our results suggest that language diversification is driven by further adaptive and non-adaptive pressures. Language diversity cannot be understood without modelling the pressures that physical, ecological and social factors exert on language users in different environments across the globe.
  • Dediu, D., & Levinson, S. C. (2018). Neanderthal language revisited: Not only us. Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, 21, 49-55. doi:10.1016/j.cobeha.2018.01.001.

    Abstract

    Here we re-evaluate our 2013 paper on the antiquity of language (Dediu and Levinson, 2013) in the light of a surge of new information on human evolution in the last half million years. Although new genetic data suggest the existence of some cognitive differences between Neanderthals and modern humans — fully expected after hundreds of thousands of years of partially separate evolution, overall our claims that Neanderthals were fully articulate beings and that language evolution was gradual are further substantiated by the wealth of new genetic, paleontological and archeological evidence briefly reviewed here.
  • Dediu, D. (2018). Making genealogical language classifications available for phylogenetic analysis: Newick trees, unified identifiers, and branch length. Language Dynamics and Change, 8(1), 1-21. doi:10.1163/22105832-00801001.

    Abstract

    One of the best-known types of non-independence between languages is caused by genealogical relationships due to descent from a common ancestor. These can be represented by (more or less resolved and controversial) language family trees. In theory, one can argue that language families should be built through the strict application of the comparative method of historical linguistics, but in practice this is not always the case, and there are several proposed classifications of languages into language families, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. A major stumbling block shared by most of them is that they are relatively difficult to use with computational methods, and in particular with phylogenetics. This is due to their lack of standardization, coupled with the general non-availability of branch length information, which encapsulates the amount of evolution taking place on the family tree. In this paper I introduce a method (and its implementation in R) that converts the language classifications provided by four widely-used databases (Ethnologue, WALS, AUTOTYP and Glottolog) intothe de facto Newick standard generally used in phylogenetics, aligns the four most used conventions for unique identifiers of linguistic entities (ISO 639-3, WALS, AUTOTYP and Glottocode), and adds branch length information from a variety of sources (the tree's own topology, an externally given numeric constant, or a distance matrix). The R scripts, input data and resulting Newick trees are available under liberal open-source licenses in a GitHub repository (https://github.com/ddediu/lgfam-newick), to encourage and promote the use of phylogenetic methods to investigate linguistic diversity and its temporal dynamics.
  • Den Hoed, J., Sollis, E., Venselaar, H., Estruch, S. B., Derizioti, P., & Fisher, S. E. (2018). Functional characterization of TBR1 variants in neurodevelopmental disorder. Scientific Reports, 8: 14279. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-32053-6.

    Abstract

    Recurrent de novo variants in the TBR1 transcription factor are implicated in the etiology of sporadic autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Disruptions include missense variants located in the T-box DNA-binding domain and previous work has demonstrated that they disrupt TBR1 protein function. Recent screens of thousands of simplex families with sporadic ASD cases uncovered additional T-box variants in TBR1 but their etiological relevance is unclear. We performed detailed functional analyses of de novo missense TBR1 variants found in the T-box of ASD cases, assessing many aspects of protein function, including subcellular localization, transcriptional activity and protein-interactions. Only two of the three tested variants severely disrupted TBR1 protein function, despite in silico predictions that all would be deleterious. Furthermore, we characterized a putative interaction with BCL11A, a transcription factor that was recently implicated in a neurodevelopmental syndrome involving developmental delay and language deficits. Our findings enhance understanding of molecular functions of TBR1, as well as highlighting the importance of functional testing of variants that emerge from next-generation sequencing, to decipher their contributions to neurodevelopmental disorders like ASD.

    Supplementary material

    Electronic supplementary material
  • Devanna, P., Chen, X. S., Ho, J., Gajewski, D., Smith, S. D., Gialluisi, A., Francks, C., Fisher, S. E., Newbury, D. F., & Vernes, S. C. (2018). Next-gen sequencing identifies non-coding variation disrupting miRNA binding sites in neurological disorders. Molecular Psychiatry, 23(5), 1375-1384. doi:10.1038/mp.2017.30.

    Abstract

    Understanding the genetic factors underlying neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders is a major challenge given their prevalence and potential severity for quality of life. While large-scale genomic screens have made major advances in this area, for many disorders the genetic underpinnings are complex and poorly understood. To date the field has focused predominantly on protein coding variation, but given the importance of tightly controlled gene expression for normal brain development and disorder, variation that affects non-coding regulatory regions of the genome is likely to play an important role in these phenotypes. Herein we show the importance of 3 prime untranslated region (3'UTR) non-coding regulatory variants across neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders. We devised a pipeline for identifying and functionally validating putatively pathogenic variants from next generation sequencing (NGS) data. We applied this pipeline to a cohort of children with severe specific language impairment (SLI) and identified a functional, SLI-associated variant affecting gene regulation in cells and post-mortem human brain. This variant and the affected gene (ARHGEF39) represent new putative risk factors for SLI. Furthermore, we identified 3′UTR regulatory variants across autism, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder NGS cohorts demonstrating their impact on neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders. Our findings show the importance of investigating non-coding regulatory variants when determining risk factors contributing to neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders. In the future, integration of such regulatory variation with protein coding changes will be essential for uncovering the genetic causes of complex neurological disorders and the fundamental mechanisms underlying health and disease

    Supplementary material

    mp201730x1.docx
  • Estruch, S. B. (2018). Characterization of transcription factors in monogenic disorders of speech and language. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.

    Supplementary material

    full text via Radboud Repository
  • Estruch, S. B., Graham, S. A., Quevedo, M., Vino, A., Dekkers, D. H. W., Deriziotis, P., Sollis, E., Demmers, J., Poot, R. A., & Fisher, S. E. (2018). Proteomic analysis of FOXP proteins reveals interactions between cortical transcription factors associated with neurodevelopmental disorders. Human Molecular Genetics, 27(7), 1212-1227. doi:10.1093/hmg/ddy035.

    Abstract

    FOXP transcription factors play important roles in neurodevelopment, but little is known about how their transcriptional activity is regulated. FOXP proteins cooperatively regulate gene expression by forming homo- and hetero-dimers with each other. Physical associations with other transcription factors might also modulate the functions of FOXP proteins. However, few FOXP-interacting transcription factors have been identified so far. Therefore, we sought to discover additional transcription factors that interact with the brain-expressed FOXP proteins, FOXP1, FOXP2 and FOXP4, through affinity-purifications of protein complexes followed by mass spectrometry. We identified seven novel FOXP-interacting transcription factors (NR2F1, NR2F2, SATB1, SATB2, SOX5, YY1 and ZMYM2), five of which have well-estabslished roles in cortical development. Accordingly, we found that these transcription factors are co-expressed with FoxP2 in the deep layers of the cerebral cortex and also in the Purkinje cells of the cerebellum, suggesting that they may cooperate with the FoxPs to regulate neural gene expression in vivo. Moreover, we demonstrated that etiological mutations of FOXP1 and FOXP2, known to cause neurodevelopmental disorders, severely disrupted the interactions with FOXP-interacting transcription factors. Additionally, we pinpointed specific regions within FOXP2 sequence involved in mediating these interactions. Thus, by expanding the FOXP interactome we have uncovered part of a broader neural transcription factor network involved in cortical development, providing novel molecular insights into the transcriptional architecture underlying brain development and neurodevelopmental disorders
  • Gingras, B., Honing, H., Peretz, I., Trainor, L. J., & Fisher, S. E. (2018). Defining the biological bases of individual differences in musicality. In H. Honing (Ed.), The origins of musicality (pp. 221-250). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Heyne, H. O., Singh, T., Stamberger, H., Jamra, R. A., Caglayan, H., Craiu, D., Guerrini, R., Helbig, K. L., Koeleman, B. P. C., Kosmicki, J. A., Linnankivi, T., May, P., Muhle, H., Møller, R. S., Neubauer, B. A., Palotie, A., Pendziwiat, M., Striano, P., Tang, S., Wu, S., EuroEPINOMICS RES Consortium, De Kovel, C. G. F., Poduri, A., Weber, Y. G., Weckhuysen, S., Sisodiya, S. M., Daly, M. J., Helbig, I., Lal, D., & Lemke, J. R. (2018). De novo variants in neurodevelopmental disorders with epilepsy. Nature Genetics, 50, 1048-1053. doi:10.1038/s41588-018-0143-7.

    Abstract

    Epilepsy is a frequent feature of neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs), but little is known about genetic differences between NDDs with and without epilepsy. We analyzed de novo variants (DNVs) in 6,753 parent–offspring trios ascertained to have different NDDs. In the subset of 1,942 individuals with NDDs with epilepsy, we identified 33 genes with a significant excess of DNVs, of which SNAP25 and GABRB2 had previously only limited evidence of disease association. Joint analysis of all individuals with NDDs also implicated CACNA1E as a novel disease-associated gene. Comparing NDDs with and without epilepsy, we found missense DNVs, DNVs in specific genes, age of recruitment, and severity of intellectual disability to be associated with epilepsy. We further demonstrate the extent to which our results affect current genetic testing as well as treatment, emphasizing the benefit of accurate genetic diagnosis in NDDs with epilepsy.
  • Howe, L. J., Lee, M. K., Sharp, G. C., Smith, G. D. W., St Pourcain, B., Shaffer, J. R., Ludwig, K. U., Mangold, E., Marazita, M. L., Feingold, E., Zhurov, A., Stergiakouli, E., Sandy, J., Richmond, S., Weinberg, S. M., Hemani, G., & Lewis, S. J. (2018). Investigating the shared genetics of non-syndromic cleft lip/palate and facial morphology. PLoS Genetics, 14(8): e1007501. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1007501.

    Abstract

    There is increasing evidence that genetic risk variants for non-syndromic cleft lip/palate (nsCL/P) are also associated with normal-range variation in facial morphology. However, previous analyses are mostly limited to candidate SNPs and findings have not been consistently replicated. Here, we used polygenic risk scores (PRS) to test for genetic overlap between nsCL/P and seven biologically relevant facial phenotypes. Where evidence was found of genetic overlap, we used bidirectional Mendelian randomization (MR) to test the hypothesis that genetic liability to nsCL/P is causally related to implicated facial phenotypes. Across 5,804 individuals of European ancestry from two studies, we found strong evidence, using PRS, of genetic overlap between nsCL/P and philtrum width; a 1 S.D. increase in nsCL/P PRS was associated with a 0.10 mm decrease in philtrum width (95% C.I. 0.054, 0.146; P = 2x10-5). Follow-up MR analyses supported a causal relationship; genetic variants for nsCL/P homogeneously cause decreased philtrum width. In addition to the primary analysis, we also identified two novel risk loci for philtrum width at 5q22.2 and 7p15.2 in our Genome-wide Association Study (GWAS) of 6,136 individuals. Our results support a liability threshold model of inheritance for nsCL/P, related to abnormalities in development of the philtrum.
  • Janssen, R., Moisik, S. R., & Dediu, D. (2018). Agent model reveals the influence of vocal tract anatomy on speech during ontogeny and glossogeny. In C. Cuskley, M. Flaherty, H. Little, L. McCrohon, A. Ravignani, & T. Verhoef (Eds.), The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of the 12th International Conference (EVOLANGXII) (pp. 171-174). Toruń, Poland: NCU Press. doi:10.12775/3991-1.042.
  • Janssen, R. (2018). Let the agents do the talking: On the influence of vocal tract anatomy no speech during ontogeny. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.

    Supplementary material

    full text via Radboud Repository
  • Janssen, R., & Dediu, D. (2018). Genetic biases affecting language: What do computer models and experimental approaches suggest? In T. Poibeau, & A. Villavicencio (Eds.), Language, Cognition and Computational Models (pp. 256-288). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Abstract

    Computer models of cultural evolution have shown language properties emerging on interacting agents with a brain that lacks dedicated, nativist language modules. Notably, models using Bayesian agents provide a precise specification of (extra-)liguististic factors (e.g., genetic) that shape language through iterated learning (biases on language), and demonstrate that weak biases get expressed more strongly over time (bias amplification). Other models attempt to lessen assumption on agents’ innate predispositions even more, and emphasize self-organization within agents, highlighting glossogenesis (the development of language from a nonlinguistic state). Ultimately however, one also has to recognize that biology and culture are strongly interacting, forming a coevolving system. As such, computer models show that agents might (biologically) evolve to a state predisposed to language adaptability, where (culturally) stable language features might get assimilated into the genome via Baldwinian niche construction. In summary, while many questions about language evolution remain unanswered, it is clear that it is not to be completely understood from a purely biological, cognitivist perspective. Language should be regarded as (partially) emerging on the social interactions between large populations of speakers. In this context, agent models provide a sound approach to investigate the complex dynamics of genetic biasing on language and speech
  • Janssen, R., Moisik, S. R., & Dediu, D. (2018). Modelling human hard palate shape with Bézier curves. PLoS One, 13(2): e0191557. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0191557.

    Abstract

    People vary at most levels, from the molecular to the cognitive, and the shape of the hard palate (the bony roof of the mouth) is no exception. The patterns of variation in the hard palate are important for the forensic sciences and (palaeo)anthropology, and might also play a role in speech production, both in pathological cases and normal variation. Here we describe a method based on Bézier curves, whose main aim is to generate possible shapes of the hard palate in humans for use in computer simulations of speech production and language evolution. Moreover, our method can also capture existing patterns of variation using few and easy-to-interpret parameters, and fits actual data obtained from MRI traces very well with as little as two or three free parameters. When compared to the widely-used Principal Component Analysis (PCA), our method fits actual data slightly worse for the same number of degrees of freedom. However, it is much better at generating new shapes without requiring a calibration sample, its parameters have clearer interpretations, and their ranges are grounded in geometrical considerations. © 2018 Janssen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
  • Kong, X., Mathias, S. R., Guadalupe, T., ENIGMA Laterality Working Group, Glahn, D. C., Franke, B., Crivello, F., Tzourio-Mazoyer, N., Fisher, S. E., Thompson, P. M., & Francks, C. (2018). Mapping Cortical Brain Asymmetry in 17,141 Healthy Individuals Worldwide via the ENIGMA Consortium. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 115(22), E5154-E5163. doi:10.1073/pnas.1718418115.

    Abstract

    Hemispheric asymmetry is a cardinal feature of human brain organization. Altered brain asymmetry has also been linked to some cognitive and neuropsychiatric disorders. Here the ENIGMA consortium presents the largest ever analysis of cerebral cortical asymmetry and its variability across individuals. Cortical thickness and surface area were assessed in MRI scans of 17,141 healthy individuals from 99 datasets worldwide. Results revealed widespread asymmetries at both hemispheric and regional levels, with a generally thicker cortex but smaller surface area in the left hemisphere relative to the right. Regionally, asymmetries of cortical thickness and/or surface area were found in the inferior frontal gyrus, transverse temporal gyrus, parahippocampal gyrus, and entorhinal cortex. These regions are involved in lateralized functions, including language and visuospatial processing. In addition to population-level asymmetries, variability in brain asymmetry was related to sex, age, and intracranial volume. Interestingly, we did not find significant associations between asymmetries and handedness. Finally, with two independent pedigree datasets (N = 1,443 and 1,113, respectively), we found several asymmetries showing significant, replicable heritability. The structural asymmetries identified, and their variabilities and heritability provide a reference resource for future studies on the genetic basis of brain asymmetry and altered laterality in cognitive, neurological, and psychiatric disorders.

    Supplementary material

    pnas.1718418115.sapp.pdf
  • Hu, C.-P., Kong, X., Wagenmakers, E.-J., Ly, A., & Peng, K. (2018). The Bayes factor and its implementation in JASP: A practical primer. Advances in Psychological Science, 26(6), 951-965. doi:10.3724/SP.J.1042.2018.00951.

    Abstract

    Statistical inference plays a critical role in modern scientific research, however, the dominant method for statistical inference in science, null hypothesis significance testing (NHST), is often misunderstood and misused, which leads to unreproducible findings. To address this issue, researchers propose to adopt the Bayes factor as an alternative to NHST. The Bayes factor is a principled Bayesian tool for model selection and hypothesis testing, and can be interpreted as the strength for both the null hypothesis H0 and the alternative hypothesis H1 based on the current data. Compared to NHST, the Bayes factor has the following advantages: it quantifies the evidence that the data provide for both the H0 and the H1, it is not “violently biased” against H0, it allows one to monitor the evidence as the data accumulate, and it does not depend on sampling plans. Importantly, the recently developed open software JASP makes the calculation of Bayes factor accessible for most researchers in psychology, as we demonstrated for the t-test. Given these advantages, adopting the Bayes factor will improve psychological researchers’ statistical inferences. Nevertheless, to make the analysis more reproducible, researchers should keep their data analysis transparent and open.
  • De Kovel, C. G. F., & Fisher, S. E. (2018). Molecular genetic methods. In A. M. B. De Groot, & P. Hagoort (Eds.), Research methods in psycholinguistics and the neurobiology of language: A practical guide (pp. 330-353). Hoboken: Wiley.
  • De Kovel, C. G. F., Lisgo, S. N., & Francks, C. (2018). Transcriptomic analysis of left-right differences in human embryonic forebrain and midbrain. Scientific Data, 5: 180164. doi:10.1038/sdata.2018.164.

    Abstract

    Left-right asymmetry is subtle but pervasive in the human central nervous system. This asymmetry is initiated early during development, but its mechanisms are poorly known. Forebrains and midbrains were dissected from six human embryos at Carnegie stages 15 or 16, one of which was female. The structures were divided into left and right sides, and RNA was isolated. RNA was sequenced with 100 base-pair paired ends using Illumina Hiseq 4000. After quality control, five paired brain sides were available for midbrain and forebrain. A paired analysis between left- and right sides of a given brain structure across the embryos identified left-right differences. The dataset, consisting of Fastq files and a read count table, can be further used to study early development of the human brain
  • De Kovel, C. G. F., Lisgo, S. N., Fisher, S. E., & Francks, C. (2018). Subtle left-right asymmetry of gene expression profiles in embryonic and foetal human brains. Scientific Reports, 8: 12606. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-29496-2.

    Abstract

    Left-right laterality is an important aspect of human –and in fact all vertebrate– brain organization for which the genetic basis is poorly understood. Using RNA sequencing data we contrasted gene expression in left- and right-sided samples from several structures of the anterior central nervous systems of post mortem human embryos and foetuses. While few individual genes stood out as significantly lateralized, most structures showed evidence of laterality of their overall transcriptomic profiles. These left-right differences showed overlap with age-dependent changes in expression, indicating lateralized maturation rates, but not consistently in left-right orientation over all structures. Brain asymmetry may therefore originate in multiple locations, or if there is a single origin, it is earlier than 5 weeks post conception, with structure-specific lateralized processes already underway by this age. This pattern is broadly consistent with the weak correlations reported between various aspects of adult brain laterality, such as language dominance and handedness.
  • Kuerbitz, J., Arnett, M., Ehrman, S., Williams, M. T., Voorhees, C. V., Fisher, S. E., Garratt, A. N., Muglia, L. J., Waclaw, R. R., & Campbell, K. (2018). Loss of intercalated cells (ITCs) in the mouse amygdala of Tshz1 mutants correlates with fear, depression and social interaction phenotypes. The Journal of Neuroscience, 38, 1160-1177. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1412-17.2017.

    Abstract

    The intercalated cells (ITCs) of the amygdala have been shown to be critical regulatory components of amygdalar circuits, which control appropriate fear responses. Despite this, the molecular processes guiding ITC development remain poorly understood. Here we establish the zinc finger transcription factor Tshz1 as a marker of ITCs during their migration from the dorsal lateral ganglionic eminence through maturity. Using germline and conditional knock-out (cKO) mouse models, we show that Tshz1 is required for the proper migration and differentiation of ITCs. In the absence of Tshz1, migrating ITC precursors fail to settle in their stereotypical locations encapsulating the lateral amygdala and BLA. Furthermore, they display reductions in the ITC marker Foxp2 and ectopic persistence of the dorsal lateral ganglionic eminence marker Sp8. Tshz1 mutant ITCs show increased cell death at postnatal time points, leading to a dramatic reduction by 3 weeks of age. In line with this, Foxp2-null mutants also show a loss of ITCs at postnatal time points, suggesting that Foxp2 may function downstream of Tshz1 in the maintenance of ITCs. Behavioral analysis of male Tshz1 cKOs revealed defects in fear extinction as well as an increase in floating during the forced swim test, indicative of a depression-like phenotype. Moreover, Tshz1 cKOs display significantly impaired social interaction (i.e., increased passivity) regardless of partner genetics. Together, these results suggest that Tshz1 plays a critical role in the development of ITCs and that fear, depression-like and social behavioral deficits arise in their absence. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT We show here that the zinc finger transcription factor Tshz1 is expressed during development of the intercalated cells (ITCs) within the mouse amygdala. These neurons have previously been shown to play a crucial role in fear extinction. Tshz1 mouse mutants exhibit severely reduced numbers of ITCs as a result of abnormal migration, differentiation, and survival of these neurons. Furthermore, the loss of ITCs in mouse Tshz1 mutants correlates well with defects in fear extinction as well as the appearance of depression-like and abnormal social interaction behaviors reminiscent of depressive disorders observed in human patients with distal 18q deletions, including the Tshz1 locus.
  • Liang, S., Vega, R., Kong, X., Deng, W., Wang, Q., Ma, X., Li, M., Hu, X., Greenshaw, A. J., Greiner, R., & Li, T. (2018). Neurocognitive Graphs of First-Episode Schizophrenia and Major Depression Based on Cognitive Features. Neuroscience Bulletin, 34(2), 312-320. doi:10.1007/s12264-017-0190-6.

    Abstract

    Neurocognitive deficits are frequently observed in patients with schizophrenia and major depressive disorder (MDD). The relations between cognitive features may be represented by neurocognitive graphs based on cognitive features, modeled as Gaussian Markov random fields. However, it is unclear whether it is possible to differentiate between phenotypic patterns associated with the differential diagnosis of schizophrenia and depression using this neurocognitive graph approach. In this study, we enrolled 215 first-episode patients with schizophrenia (FES), 125 with MDD, and 237 demographically-matched healthy controls (HCs). The cognitive performance of all participants was evaluated using a battery of neurocognitive tests. The graphical LASSO model was trained with a one-vs-one scenario to learn the conditional independent structure of neurocognitive features of each group. Participants in the holdout dataset were classified into different groups with the highest likelihood. A partial correlation matrix was transformed from the graphical model to further explore the neurocognitive graph for each group. The classification approach identified the diagnostic class for individuals with an average accuracy of 73.41% for FES vs HC, 67.07% for MDD vs HC, and 59.48% for FES vs MDD. Both of the neurocognitive graphs for FES and MDD had more connections and higher node centrality than those for HC. The neurocognitive graph for FES was less sparse and had more connections than that for MDD. Thus, neurocognitive graphs based on cognitive features are promising for describing endophenotypes that may discriminate schizophrenia from depression.

    Supplementary material

    Liang_etal_2017sup.pdf
  • Ligthart, S., Vaez, A., Võsa, U., Stathopoulou, M. G., De Vries, P. S., Prins, B. P., Van der Most, P. J., Tanaka, T., Naderi, E., Rose, L. M., Wu, Y., Karlsson, R., Barbalic, M., Lin, H., Pool, R., Zhu, G., Macé, A., Sidore, C., Trompet, S., Mangino, M., Sabater-Lleal, M., Kemp, J. P., Abbasi, A., Kacprowski, T., Verweij, N., Smith, A. V., Huang, T., Marzi, C., Feitosa, M. F., Lohman, K. K., Kleber, M. E., Milaneschi, Y., Mueller, C., Huq, M., Vlachopoulou, E., Lyytikäinen, L.-P., Oldmeadow, C., Deelen, J., Perola, M., Zhao, J. H., Feenstra, B., LifeLines Cohort Study, Amini, M., CHARGE Inflammation Working Group, Lahti, J., Schraut, K. E., Fornage, M., Suktitipat, B., Chen, W.-M., Li, X., Nutile, T., Malerba, G., Luan, J., Bak, T., Schork, N., Del Greco M., F., Thiering, E., Mahajan, A., Marioni, R. E., Mihailov, E., Eriksson, J., Ozel, A. B., Zhang, W., Nethander, M., Cheng, Y.-C., Aslibekyan, S., Ang, W., Gandin, I., Yengo, L., Portas, L., Kooperberg, C., Hofer, E., Rajan, K. B., Schurmann, C., Den Hollander, W., Ahluwalia, T. S., Zhao, J., Draisma, H. H. M., Ford, I., Timpson, N., Teumer, A., Huang, H., Wahl, S., Liu, Y., Huang, J., Uh, H.-W., Geller, F., Joshi, P. K., Yanek, L. R., Trabetti, E., Lehne, B., Vozzi, D., Verbanck, M., Biino, G., Saba, Y., Meulenbelt, I., O’Connell, J. R., Laakso, M., Giulianini, F., Magnusson, P. K. E., Ballantyne, C. M., Hottenga, J. J., Montgomery, G. W., Rivadineira, F., Rueedi, R., Steri, M., Herzig, K.-H., Stott, D. J., Menni, C., Franberg, M., St Pourcain, B., Felix, S. B., Pers, T. H., Bakker, S. J. L., Kraft, P., Peters, A., Vaidya, D., Delgado, G., Smit, J. H., Großmann, V., Sinisalo, J., Seppälä, I., Williams, S. R., Holliday, E. G., Moed, M., Langenberg, C., Räikkönen, K., Ding, J., Campbell, H., Sale, M. M., Chen, Y.-D.-I., James, A. L., Ruggiero, D., Soranzo, N., Hartman, C. A., Smith, E. N., Berenson, G. S., Fuchsberger, C., Hernandez, D., Tiesler, C. M. T., Giedraitis, V., Liewald, D., Fischer, K., Mellström, D., Larsson, A., Wang, Y., Scott, W. R., Lorentzon, M., Beilby, J., Ryan, K. A., Pennell, C. E., Vuckovic, D., Balkau, B., Concas, M. P., Schmidt, R., Mendes de Leon, C. F., Bottinger, E. P., Kloppenburg, M., Paternoster, L., Boehnke, M., Musk, A. W., Willemsen, G., Evans, D. M., Madden, P. A. F., Kähönen, M., Kutalik, Z., Zoledziewska, M., Karhunen, V., Kritchevsky, S. B., Sattar, N., Lachance, G., Clarke, R., Harris, T. B., Raitakari, O. T., Attia, J. R., Van Heemst, D., Kajantie, E., Sorice, R., Gambaro, G., Scott, R. A., Hicks, A. A., Ferrucci, L., Standl, M., Lindgren, C. M., Starr, J. M., Karlsson, M., Lind, L., Li, J. Z., Chambers, J. C., Mori, T. A., De Geus, E. J. C. N., Heath, A. C., Martin, N. G., Auvinen, J., Buckley, B. M., De Craen, A. J. M., Waldenberger, M., Strauch, K., Meitinger, T., Scott, R. J., McEvoy, M., Beekman, M., Bombieri, C., Ridker, P. M., Mohlke, K. L., Pedersen, N. L., Morrison, A. C., Boomsma, D. I., Whitfield, J. B., Strachan, D. P., Hofman, A., Vollenweider, P., Cucca, F., Jarvelin, M.-R., Jukema, J. W., Spector, T. D., Hamsten, A., Zeller, T., Uitterlinden, A. G., Nauck, M., Gudnason, V., Qi, L., Grallert, H., Borecki, I. B., Rotter, J. I., März, W., Wild, P. S., Lokki, M.-L., Boyle, M., Salomaa, V., Melbye, M., Eriksson, J. G., Wilson, J. F., Penninx, B. W. J. H., Becker, D. M., Worrall, B. B., Gibson, G., Krauss, R. M., Ciullo, M., Zaza, G., Wareham, N. J., Oldehinkel, A. J., Palmer, L. J., Murray, S. S., Pramstaller, P. P., Bandinelli, S., Heinrich, J., Ingelsson, E., Deary, I. J., Ma¨gi, R., Vandenput, L., Van der Harst, P., Desch, K. C., Kooner, J. S., Ohlsson, C., Hayward, C., Lehtima¨ki, T., Shuldiner, A. R., Arnett, D. K., Beilin, L. J., Robino, A., Froguel, P., Pirastu, M., Jess, T., Koenig, W., Loos, R. J. F., Evans, D. A., Schmidt, H., Smith, G. D., Slagboom, P. E., Eiriksdottir, G., Morris, A. P., Psaty, B. M., Tracy, R. P., Nolte, I. M., Boerwinkle, E., Visvikis-Siest, S., Reiner, A. P., Gross, M., Bis, J. C., Franke, L., Franco, O. H., Benjamin, E. J., Chasman, D. I., Dupuis, J., Snieder, H., Dehghan, A., & Alizadeh, B. Z. (2018). Genome Analyses of >200,000 Individuals Identify 58 Loci for Chronic Inflammation and Highlight Pathways that Link Inflammation and Complex Disorders. The American Journal of Human Genetics, 103(5), 691-706. doi:10.1016/j.ajhg.2018.09.009.

    Abstract

    C-reactive protein (CRP) is a sensitive biomarker of chronic low-grade inflammation and is associated with multiple complex diseases. The genetic determinants of chronic inflammation remain largely unknown, and the causal role of CRP in several clinical outcomes is debated. We performed two genome-wide association studies (GWASs), on HapMap and 1000 Genomes imputed data, of circulating amounts of CRP by using data from 88 studies comprising 204,402 European individuals. Additionally, we performed in silico functional analyses and Mendelian randomization analyses with several clinical outcomes. The GWAS meta-analyses of CRP revealed 58 distinct genetic loci (p < 5 × 10−8). After adjustment for body mass index in the regression analysis, the associations at all except three loci remained. The lead variants at the distinct loci explained up to 7.0% of the variance in circulating amounts of CRP. We identified 66 gene sets that were organized in two substantially correlated clusters, one mainly composed of immune pathways and the other characterized by metabolic pathways in the liver. Mendelian randomization analyses revealed a causal protective effect of CRP on schizophrenia and a risk-increasing effect on bipolar disorder. Our findings provide further insights into the biology of inflammation and could lead to interventions for treating inflammation and its clinical consequences.
  • Xu, S., Liu, P., Chen, Y., Chen, Y., Zhang, W., Zhao, H., Cao, Y., Wang, F., Jiang, N., Lin, S., Li, B., Zhang, Z., Wei, Z., Fan, Y., Jin, Y., He, L., Zhou, R., Dekker, J. D., Tucker, H. O., Fisher, S. E., Yao, Z., Liu, Q., Xia, X., & Guo, X. (2018). Foxp2 regulates anatomical features that may be relevant for vocal behaviors and bipedal locomotion. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 115(35), 8799-8804. doi:10.1073/pnas.1721820115.

    Abstract

    Fundamental human traits, such as language and bipedalism, are associated with a range of anatomical adaptations in craniofacial shaping and skeletal remodeling. However, it is unclear how such morphological features arose during hominin evolution. FOXP2 is a brain-expressed transcription factor implicated in a rare disorder involving speech apraxia and language impairments. Analysis of its evolutionary history suggests that this gene may have contributed to the emergence of proficient spoken language. In the present study, through analyses of skeleton-specific knockout mice, we identified roles of Foxp2 in skull shaping and bone remodeling. Selective ablation of Foxp2 in cartilage disrupted pup vocalizations in a similar way to that of global Foxp2 mutants, which may be due to pleiotropic effects on craniofacial morphogenesis. Our findings also indicate that Foxp2 helps to regulate strength and length of hind limbs and maintenance of joint cartilage and intervertebral discs, which are all anatomical features that are susceptible to adaptations for bipedal locomotion. In light of the known roles of Foxp2 in brain circuits that are important for motor skills and spoken language, we suggest that this gene may have been well placed to contribute to coevolution of neural and anatomical adaptations related to speech and bipedal locomotion.

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  • Mei, C., Fedorenko, E., Amor, D. J., Boys, A., Hoeflin, C., Carew, P., Burgess, T., Fisher, S. E., & Morgan, A. T. (2018). Deep phenotyping of speech and language skills in individuals with 16p11.2 deletion. European journal of human genetics, 26(5), 676-686. doi:10.1038/s41431-018-0102-x.

    Abstract

    Recurrent deletions of a ~600-kb region of 16p11.2 have been associated with a highly penetrant form of childhood apraxia of speech (CAS). Yet prior findings have been based on a small, potentially biased sample using retrospectively collected data. We examine the prevalence of CAS in a larger cohort of individuals with 16p11.2 deletion using a prospectively designed assessment battery. The broader speech and language phenotype associated with carrying this deletion was also examined. 55 participants with 16p11.2 deletion (47 children, 8 adults) underwent deep phenotyping to test for the presence of CAS and other speech and language diagnoses. Standardized tests of oral motor functioning, speech production, language, and non-verbal IQ were conducted. The majority of children (77%) and half of adults (50%) met criteria for CAS. Other speech outcomes were observed including articulation or phonological errors (i.e., phonetic and cognitive-linguistic errors, respectively), dysarthria (i.e., neuromuscular speech disorder), minimal verbal output, and even typical speech in some. Receptive and expressive language impairment was present in 73% and 70% of children, respectively. Co-occurring neurodevelopmental conditions (e.g., autism) and non-verbal IQ did not correlate with the presence of CAS. Findings indicate that CAS is highly prevalent in children with 16p11.2 deletion with symptoms persisting into adulthood for many. Yet CAS occurs in the context of a broader speech and language profile and other neurobehavioral deficits. Further research will elucidate specific genetic and neural pathways leading to speech and language deficits in individuals with 16p11.2 deletions, resulting in more targeted speech therapies addressing etiological pathways.
  • Morgan, A. T., van Haaften, L., van Hulst, K., Edley, C., Mei, C., Tan, T. Y., Amor, D., Fisher, S. E., & Koolen, D. A. (2018). Early speech development in Koolen de Vries syndrome limited by oral praxis and hypotonia. European journal of human genetics, 26, 75-84. doi:10.1038/s41431-017-0035-9.

    Abstract

    Communication disorder is common in Koolen de Vries syndrome (KdVS), yet its specific symptomatology has not been examined, limiting prognostic counselling and application of targeted therapies. Here we examine the communication phenotype associated with KdVS. Twenty-nine participants (12 males, 4 with KANSL1 variants, 25 with 17q21.31 microdeletion), aged 1.0–27.0 years were assessed for oral-motor, speech, language, literacy, and social functioning. Early history included hypotonia and feeding difficulties. Speech and language development was delayed and atypical from onset of first words (2; 5–3; 5 years of age on average). Speech was characterised by apraxia (100%) and dysarthria (93%), with stuttering in some (17%). Speech therapy and multi-modal communication (e.g., sign-language) was critical in preschool. Receptive and expressive language abilities were typically commensurate (79%), both being severely affected relative to peers. Children were sociable with a desire to communicate, although some (36%) had pragmatic impairments in domains, where higher-level language was required. A common phenotype was identified, including an overriding ‘double hit’ of oral hypotonia and apraxia in infancy and preschool, associated with severely delayed speech development. Remarkably however, speech prognosis was positive; apraxia resolved, and although dysarthria persisted, children were intelligible by mid-to-late childhood. In contrast, language and literacy deficits persisted, and pragmatic deficits were apparent. Children with KdVS require early, intensive, speech motor and language therapy, with targeted literacy and social language interventions as developmentally appropriate. Greater understanding of the linguistic phenotype may help unravel the relevance of KANSL1 to child speech and language development.

    Supplementary material

    41431_2017_35_MOESM1_ESM.docx
  • Mulhern, M. S., Stumpel, C., Stong, N., Brunner, H. G., Bier, L., Lippa, N., Riviello, J., Rouhl, R. P. W., Kempers, M., Pfundt, R., Stegmann, A. P. A., Kukolich, M. K., Telegrafi, A., Lehman, A., Lopez-Rangel, E., Houcinat, N., Barth, M., Den Hollander, N., Hoffer, M. J. V., Weckhuysen, S., Roovers, J., Djemie, T., Barca, D., Ceulemans, B., Craiu, D., Lemke, J. R., Korff, C., Mefford, H. C., Meyers, C. T., Siegler, Z., Hiatt, S. M., Cooper, G. M., Bebin, E. M., Snijders Blok, L., Veenstra-Knol, H. E., Baugh, E. H., Brilstra, E. H., Volker-Touw, C. M. L., Van Binsbergen, E., Revah-Politi, A., Pereira, E., McBrian, D., Pacault, M., Isidor, B., Le Caignec, C., Gilbert-Dussardier, B., Bilan, F., Heinzen, E. L., Goldstein, D. B., Stevens, S. J. C., & Sands, T. T. (2018). NBEA: Developmental disease gene with early generalized epilepsy phenotypes. Annals of Neurology, 84(5), 788-795. doi:10.1002/ana.25350.

    Abstract

    NBEA is a candidate gene for autism, and de novo variants have been reported in neurodevelopmental disease (NDD) cohorts. However, NBEA has not been rigorously evaluated as a disease gene, and associated phenotypes have not been delineated. We identified 24 de novo NBEA variants in patients with NDD, establishing NBEA as an NDD gene. Most patients had epilepsy with onset in the first few years of life, often characterized by generalized seizure types, including myoclonic and atonic seizures. Our data show a broader phenotypic spectrum than previously described, including a myoclonic-astatic epilepsy–like phenotype in a subset of patients.

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  • St Pourcain, B., Robinson, E. B., Anttila, V., Sullivan, B. B., Maller, J., Golding, J., Skuse, D., Ring, S., Evans, D. M., Zammit, S., Fisher, S. E., Neale, B. M., Anney, R., Ripke, S., Hollegaard, M. V., Werge, T., iPSYCH-SSI-Broad Autism Group, Ronald, A., Grove, J., Hougaard, D. M., Børglum, A. D., Mortensen, P. B., Daly, M., & Davey Smith, G. (2018). ASD and schizophrenia show distinct developmental profiles in common genetic overlap with population-based social-communication difficulties. Molecular Psychiatry, 23, 263-270. doi:10.1038/mp.2016.198.

    Abstract

    Difficulties in social communication are part of the phenotypic overlap between autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and schizophrenia. Both conditions follow, however, distinct developmental patterns. Symptoms of ASD typically occur during early childhood, whereas most symptoms characteristic of schizophrenia do not appear before early adulthood. We investigated whether overlap in common genetic in fluences between these clinical conditions and impairments in social communication depends on the developmental stage of the assessed trait. Social communication difficulties were measured in typically-developing youth (Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children,N⩽5553, longitudinal assessments at 8, 11, 14 and 17 years) using the Social Communication Disorder Checklist. Data on clinical ASD (PGC-ASD: 5305 cases, 5305 pseudo-controls; iPSYCH-ASD: 7783 cases, 11 359 controls) and schizophrenia (PGC-SCZ2: 34 241 cases, 45 604 controls, 1235 trios) were either obtained through the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC) or the Danish iPSYCH project. Overlap in genetic in fluences between ASD and social communication difficulties during development decreased with age, both in the PGC-ASD and the iPSYCH-ASD sample. Genetic overlap between schizophrenia and social communication difficulties, by contrast, persisted across age, as observed within two independent PGC-SCZ2 subsamples, and showed an increase in magnitude for traits assessed during later adolescence. ASD- and schizophrenia-related polygenic effects were unrelated to each other and changes in trait-disorder links reflect the heterogeneity of genetic factors in fluencing social communication difficulties during childhood versus later adolescence. Thus, both clinical ASD and schizophrenia share some genetic in fluences with impairments in social communication, but reveal distinct developmental profiles in their genetic links, consistent with the onset of clinical symptoms

    Supplementary material

    mp2016198x1.docx
  • St Pourcain, B., Eaves, L. J., Ring, S. M., Fisher, S. E., Medland, S., Evans, D. M., & Smith, G. D. (2018). Developmental changes within the genetic architecture of social communication behaviour: A multivariate study of genetic variance in unrelated individuals. Biological Psychiatry, 83(7), 598-606. doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2017.09.020.

    Abstract

    Background: Recent analyses of trait-disorder overlap suggest that psychiatric dimensions may relate to distinct sets of genes that exert their maximum influence during different periods of development. This includes analyses of social-communciation difficulties that share, depending on their developmental stage, stronger genetic links with either Autism Spectrum Disorder or schizophrenia. Here we developed a multivariate analysis framework in unrelated individuals to model directly the developmental profile of genetic influences contributing to complex traits, such as social-communication difficulties, during a ~10-year period spanning childhood and adolescence. Methods: Longitudinally assessed quantitative social-communication problems (N ≤ 5,551) were studied in participants from a UK birth cohort (ALSPAC, 8 to 17 years). Using standardised measures, genetic architectures were investigated with novel multivariate genetic-relationship-matrix structural equation models (GSEM) incorporating whole-genome genotyping information. Analogous to twin research, GSEM included Cholesky decomposition, common pathway and independent pathway models. Results: A 2-factor Cholesky decomposition model described the data best. One genetic factor was common to SCDC measures across development, the other accounted for independent variation at 11 years and later, consistent with distinct developmental profiles in trait-disorder overlap. Importantly, genetic factors operating at 8 years explained only ~50% of the genetic variation at 17 years. Conclusion: Using latent factor models, we identified developmental changes in the genetic architecture of social-communication difficulties that enhance the understanding of ASD and schizophrenia-related dimensions. More generally, GSEM present a framework for modelling shared genetic aetiologies between phenotypes and can provide prior information with respect to patterns and continuity of trait-disorder overlap
  • Snijders Blok, L., Hiatt, S. M., Bowling, K. M., Prokop, J. W., Engel, K. L., Cochran, J. N., Bebin, E. M., Bijlsma, E. K., Ruivenkamp, C. A. L., Terhal, P., Simon, M. E. H., Smith, R., Hurst, J. A., The DDD study, MCLaughlin, H., Person, R., Crunk, A., Wangler, M. F., Streff, H., Symonds, J. D., Zuberi, S. M., Elliott, K. S., Sanders, V. R., Masunga, A., Hopkin, R. J., Dubbs, H. A., Ortiz-Gonzalez, X. R., Pfundt, R., Brunner, H. G., Fisher, S. E., Kleefstra, T., & Cooper, G. M. (2018). De novo mutations in MED13, a component of the Mediator complex, are associated with a novel neurodevelopmental disorder. Human Genetics, 137(5), 375-388. doi:10.1007/s00439-018-1887-y.

    Abstract

    Many genetic causes of developmental delay and/or intellectual disability (DD/ID) are extremely rare, and robust discovery of these requires both large-scale DNA sequencing and data sharing. Here we describe a GeneMatcher collaboration which led to a cohort of 13 affected individuals harboring protein-altering variants, 11 of which are de novo, in MED13; the only inherited variant was transmitted to an affected child from an affected mother. All patients had intellectual disability and/or developmental delays, including speech delays or disorders. Other features that were reported in two or more patients include autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, optic nerve abnormalities, Duane anomaly, hypotonia, mild congenital heart abnormalities, and dysmorphisms. Six affected individuals had mutations that are predicted to truncate the MED13 protein, six had missense mutations, and one had an in-frame-deletion of one amino acid. Out of the seven non-truncating mutations, six clustered in two specific locations of the MED13 protein: an N-terminal and C-terminal region. The four N-terminal clustering mutations affect two adjacent amino acids that are known to be involved in MED13 ubiquitination and degradation, p.Thr326 and p.Pro327. MED13 is a component of the CDK8-kinase module that can reversibly bind Mediator, a multi-protein complex that is required for Polymerase II transcription initiation. Mutations in several other genes encoding subunits of Mediator have been previously shown to associate with DD/ID, including MED13L, a paralog of MED13. Thus, our findings add MED13 to the group of CDK8-kinase module-associated disease genes
  • Snijders Blok, L., Rousseau, J., Twist, J., Ehresmann, S., Takaku, M., Venselaar, H., Rodan, L. H., Nowak, C. B., Douglas, J., Swoboda, K. J., Steeves, M. A., Sahai, I., Stumpel, C. T. R. M., Stegmann, A. P. A., Wheeler, P., Willing, M., Fiala, E., Kochhar, A., Gibson, W. T., Cohen, A. S. A., Agbahovbe, R., Innes, A. M., Au, P. Y. B., Rankin, J., Anderson, I. J., Skinner, S. A., Louie, R. J., Warren, H. E., Afenjar, A., Keren, B., Nava, C., Buratti, J., Isapof, A., Rodriguez, D., Lewandowski, R., Propst, J., Van Essen, T., Choi, M., Lee, S., Chae, J. H., Price, S., Schnur, R. E., Douglas, G., Wentzensen, I. M., Zweier, C., Reis, A., Bialer, M. G., Moore, C., Koopmans, M., Brilstra, E. H., Monroe, G. R., Van Gassen, K. L. I., Van Binsbergen, E., Newbury-Ecob, R., Bownass, L., Bader, I., Mayr, J. A., Wortmann, S. B., Jakielski, K. J., Strand, E. A., Kloth, K., Bierhals, T., The DDD study, Roberts, J. D., Petrovich, R. M., Machida, S., Kurumizaka, H., Lelieveld, S., Pfundt, R., Jansen, S., Derizioti, P., Faivre, L., Thevenon, J., Assoum, M., Shriberg, L., Kleefstra, T., Brunner, H. G., Wade, P. A., Fisher, S. E., & Campeau, P. M. (2018). CHD3 helicase domain mutations cause a neurodevelopmental syndrome with macrocephaly and impaired speech and language. Nature Communications, 9: 4619. doi:10.1038/s41467-018-06014-6.

    Abstract

    Chromatin remodeling is of crucial importance during brain development. Pathogenic alterations of several chromatin remodeling ATPases have been implicated in neurodevelopmental disorders. We describe an index case with a de novo missense mutation in CHD3, identified during whole genome sequencing of a cohort of children with rare speech disorders. To gain a comprehensive view of features associated with disruption of this gene, we use a genotype-driven approach, collecting and characterizing 35 individuals with de novo CHD3 mutations and overlapping phenotypes. Most mutations cluster within the ATPase/helicase domain of the encoded protein. Modeling their impact on the three-dimensional structure demonstrates disturbance of critical binding and interaction motifs. Experimental assays with six of the identified mutations show that a subset directly affects ATPase activity, and all but one yield alterations in chromatin remodeling. We implicate de novo CHD3 mutations in a syndrome characterized by intellectual disability, macrocephaly, and impaired speech and language.
  • Sønderby, I. E., Gústafsson, Ó., Doan, N. T., Hibar, D. P., Martin-Brevet, S., Westlye, L. T., Jacquemont, S., Djurovic, S., Stefánsson, H., Stefánsson, K., Thompson, P. M., Andreassen, O. A., Abdellaoui, A., Ames, D., Amunts, K., Andersson, M., Armstrong, N. J., Bernard, M., Blackburn, N., Blangero, J., Boomsma, D. I., Bralten, J., Brattbak, H.-R., Brodaty, H., Brouwer, R. M., Bülow, R., Calhoun, V., Caspers, S., Cavalleri, G., Chen, C.-H., Cichon, S., Ciufolini, S., Corvin, A., Crespo-Facorro, B., Curran, J. E., Dale, A. M., Dalvie, S., Dazzan, P., de Geus, E. J., de Zubicaray, G. I., de Zwarte, S. M., Delanty, N., den Braber, A., Desrivières, S., Donohoe, G., Draganski, B., Ehrlich, S., Espeseth, T., Fisher, S. E., Franke, B., Frouin, V., Fukunaga, M., Gareau, T., Glahn, D. C., Grabe, H., Groenewold, N. A., Haavik, J., Håberg, A., Hashimoto, R., Hehir-Kwa, J. Y., Heinz, A., Hillegers, M. H., Hoffmann, P., Holleran, L., Hottenga, J.-J., Hulshoff, H. E., Ikeda, M., Jahanshad, N., Jernigan, T., Jockwitz, C., Johansson, S., Jonsdottir, G. A., Jönsson, E. G., Kahn, R., Kaufmann, T., Kelly, S., Kikuchi, M., Knowles, E. E., Kolskår, K. K., Kwok, J. B., Le Hellard, S., Leu, C., Liu, J., Lundervold, A. J., Lundervold, A., Martin, N. G., Mather, K., Mathias, S. R., McCormack, M., McMahon, K. L., McRae, A., Milaneschi, Y., Moreau, C., Morris, D., Mothersill, D., Mühleisen, T. W., Murray, R., Nordvik, J. E., Nyberg, L., Loohuis, L. M. O., Ophoff, R., Paus, T., Pausova, Z., Penninx, B., Peralta, J. M., Pike, B., Prieto, C., Pudas, S., Quinlan, E., Quintana, D. S., Reinbold, C. S., Marques, T. R., Reymond, A., Richard, G., Rodriguez-Herreros, B., Roiz-Santiañez, R., Rucker, J., Sachdev, P., Sanders, A.-M., Sando, S. B., Schmaal, L., Schofield, P. R., Schork, A. J., Schumann, G., Shin, J., Shumskaya, E., Sisodiya, S., Steen, V. M., Stein, D. J., Steinberg, S., Strike, L., Teumer, A., Thalamuthu, A., Tordesillas-Gutierrez, D., Turner, J., Ueland, T., Uhlmann, A., Ulfarsson, M. O., van Ent, D. '., van der Meer, D., van Haren, N. E., Vaskinn, A., Vassos, E., Walters, G. B., Wang, Y., Wen, W., Whelan, C. D., Wittfeld, K., Wright, M., Yamamori, H., Zayats, T., & Agartz, I. (2018). Dose response of the 16p11.2 distal copy number variant on intracranial volume and basal ganglia. Molecular Psychiatry. Advance online publication. doi:10.1038/s41380-018-0118-1.

    Abstract

    Carriers of large recurrent copy number variants (CNVs) have a higher risk of developing neurodevelopmental disorders. The 16p11.2 distal CNV predisposes carriers to e.g., autism spectrum disorder and schizophrenia. We compared subcortical brain volumes of 12 16p11.2 distal deletion and 12 duplication carriers to 6882 non-carriers from the large-scale brain Magnetic Resonance Imaging collaboration, ENIGMA-CNV. After stringent CNV calling procedures, and standardized FreeSurfer image analysis, we found negative dose-response associations with copy number on intracranial volume and on regional caudate, pallidum and putamen volumes (β = −0.71 to −1.37; P < 0.0005). In an independent sample, consistent results were obtained, with significant effects in the pallidum (β = −0.95, P = 0.0042). The two data sets combined showed significant negative dose-response for the accumbens, caudate, pallidum, putamen and ICV (P = 0.0032, 8.9 × 10−6, 1.7 × 10−9, 3.5 × 10−12 and 1.0 × 10−4, respectively). Full scale IQ was lower in both deletion and duplication carriers compared to non-carriers. This is the first brain MRI study of the impact of the 16p11.2 distal CNV, and we demonstrate a specific effect on subcortical brain structures, suggesting a neuropathological pattern underlying the neurodevelopmental syndromes
  • Tilot, A. K., Kucera, K. S., Vino, A., Asher, J. E., Baron-Cohen, S., & Fisher, S. E. (2018). Rare variants in axonogenesis genes connect three families with sound–color synesthesia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 115(12), 3168-3173. doi:10.1073/pnas.1715492115.

    Abstract

    Synesthesia is a rare nonpathological phenomenon where stimulation of one sense automatically provokes a secondary perception in another. Hypothesized to result from differences in cortical wiring during development, synesthetes show atypical structural and functional neural connectivity, but the underlying molecular mechanisms are unknown. The trait also appears to be more common among people with autism spectrum disorder and savant abilities. Previous linkage studies searching for shared loci of large effect size across multiple families have had limited success. To address the critical lack of candidate genes, we applied whole-exome sequencing to three families with sound–color (auditory–visual) synesthesia affecting multiple relatives across three or more generations. We identified rare genetic variants that fully cosegregate with synesthesia in each family, uncovering 37 genes of interest. Consistent with reports indicating genetic heterogeneity, no variants were shared across families. Gene ontology analyses highlighted six genes—COL4A1, ITGA2, MYO10, ROBO3, SLC9A6, and SLIT2—associated with axonogenesis and expressed during early childhood when synesthetic associations are formed. These results are consistent with neuroimaging-based hypotheses about the role of hyperconnectivity in the etiology of synesthesia and offer a potential entry point into the neurobiology that organizes our sensory experiences.

    Supplementary material

    Tilot_etal_2018SI.pdf
  • Van der Meer, D., Rokicki, J., Kaufmann, T., Córdova-Palomera, A., Moberget, T., Alnæs, D., Bettella, F., Frei, O., Trung Doan, N., Sønderby, I. E., Smeland, O. B., Agartz, I., Bertolino, A., Bralten, J., Brandt, C. L., Buitelaar, J. K., Djurovic, S., Van Donkelaar, M. M. J., Dørum, E. S., Espeseth, T., Faraone, S. V., Fernandez, G., Fisher, S. E., Franke, B., Haatveit, B., Hartman, C., Hoekstra, P. J., Haberg, A. K., Jönsson, E. G., Kolskår, K. K., Le Hellard, S., Lund, M. J., Lundervold, A. J., Lundervold, A., Melle, I., Monereo Sánchez, J., Norbom, L. C., Nordvik, J. E., Nyberg, L., Oosterlaan, J., Papalino, M., Papassotiropoulos, A., Pergola, G., De Quervain, D. J. F., Richard, G., Sanders, A.-M., Selvaggi, P., Shumskaya, E., Steen, V. M., Tønnesen, S., Ulrichsen, K. M., Zwiers, M., Andreassen, O. A., & Westlye, L. T. (2018). Brain scans from 21297 individuals reveal the genetic architecture of hippocampal subfield volumes. Molecular Psychiatry. Advance online publication. doi:10.1038/s41380-018-0262-7.

    Abstract

    The hippocampus is a heterogeneous structure, comprising histologically distinguishable subfields. These subfields are differentially involved in memory consolidation, spatial navigation and pattern separation, complex functions often impaired in individuals with brain disorders characterized by reduced hippocampal volume, including Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and schizophrenia. Given the structural and functional heterogeneity of the hippocampal formation, we sought to characterize the subfields’ genetic architecture. T1-weighted brain scans (n = 21,297, 16 cohorts) were processed with the hippocampal subfields algorithm in FreeSurfer v6.0. We ran a genome-wide association analysis on each subfield, co-varying for whole hippocampal volume. We further calculated the single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)-based heritability of 12 subfields, as well as their genetic correlation with each other, with other structural brain features and with AD and schizophrenia. All outcome measures were corrected for age, sex and intracranial volume. We found 15 unique genome-wide significant loci across six subfields, of which eight had not been previously linked to the hippocampus. Top SNPs were mapped to genes associated with neuronal differentiation, locomotor behaviour, schizophrenia and AD. The volumes of all the subfields were estimated to be heritable (h2 from 0.14 to 0.27, all p < 1 × 10–16) and clustered together based on their genetic correlations compared with other structural brain features. There was also evidence of genetic overlap of subicular subfield volumes with schizophrenia. We conclude that hippocampal subfields have partly distinct genetic determinants associated with specific biological processes and traits. Taking into account this specificity may increase our understanding of hippocampal neurobiology and associated pathologies.

    Supplementary material

    41380_2018_262_MOESM1_ESM.docx
  • Van Rhijn, J. R., Fisher, S. E., Vernes, S. C., & Nadif Kasri, N. (2018). Foxp2 loss of function increases striatal direct pathway inhibition via increased GABA release. Brain Structure and Function, 223(9), 4211-4226. doi:10.1007/s00429-018-1746-6.

    Abstract

    Heterozygous mutations of the Forkhead-box protein 2 (FOXP2) gene in humans cause childhood apraxia of speech. Loss of Foxp2 in mice is known to affect striatal development and impair motor skills. However, it is unknown if striatal excitatory/inhibitory balance is affected during development and if the imbalance persists into adulthood. We investigated the effect of reduced Foxp2 expression, via a loss-of-function mutation, on striatal medium spiny neurons (MSNs). Our data show that heterozygous loss of Foxp2 decreases excitatory (AMPA receptor-mediated) and increases inhibitory (GABA receptor-mediated) currents in D1 dopamine receptor positive MSNs of juvenile and adult mice. Furthermore, reduced Foxp2 expression increases GAD67 expression, leading to both increased presynaptic content and release of GABA. Finally, pharmacological blockade of inhibitory activity in vivo partially rescues motor skill learning deficits in heterozygous Foxp2 mice. Our results suggest a novel role for Foxp2 in the regulation of striatal direct pathway activity through managing inhibitory drive.

    Supplementary material

    429_2018_1746_MOESM1_ESM.docx
  • Acuna-Hidalgo, R., Deriziotis, P., Steehouwer, M., Gilissen, C., Graham, S. A., Van Dam, S., Hoover-Fong, J., Telegrafi, A. B., Destree, A., Smigiel, R., Lambie, L. A., Kayserili, H., Altunoglu, U., Lapi, E., Uzielli, M. L., Aracena, M., Nur, B. G., Mihci, E., Moreira, L. M. A., Ferreira, V. B., Horovitz, D. D. G., Da Rocha, K. M., Jezela-Stanek, A., Brooks, A. S., Reutter, H., Cohen, J. S., Fatemi, A., Smitka, M., Grebe, T. A., Di Donato, N., Deshpande, C., Vandersteen, A., Marques Lourenço, C., Dufke, A., Rossier, E., Andre, G., Baumer, A., Spencer, C., McGaughran, J., Franke, L., Veltman, J. A., De Vries, B. B. A., Schinzel, A., Fisher, S. E., Hoischen, A., & Van Bon, B. W. (2017). Overlapping SETBP1 gain-of-function mutations in Schinzel-Giedion syndrome and hematologic malignancies. PLoS Genetics, 13: e1006683. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1006683.

    Abstract

    Schinzel-Giedion syndrome (SGS) is a rare developmental disorder characterized by multiple malformations, severe neurological alterations and increased risk of malignancy. SGS is caused by de novo germline mutations clustering to a 12bp hotspot in exon 4 of SETBP1. Mutations in this hotspot disrupt a degron, a signal for the regulation of protein degradation, and lead to the accumulation of SETBP1 protein. Overlapping SETBP1 hotspot mutations have been observed recurrently as somatic events in leukemia. We collected clinical information of 47 SGS patients (including 26 novel cases) with germline SETBP1 mutations and of four individuals with a milder phenotype caused by de novo germline mutations adjacent to the SETBP1 hotspot. Different mutations within and around the SETBP1 hotspot have varying effects on SETBP1 stability and protein levels in vitro and in in silico modeling. Substitutions in SETBP1 residue I871 result in a weak increase in protein levels and mutations affecting this residue are significantly more frequent in SGS than in leukemia. On the other hand, substitutions in residue D868 lead to the largest increase in protein levels. Individuals with germline mutations affecting D868 have enhanced cell proliferation in vitro and higher incidence of cancer compared to patients with other germline SETBP1 mutations. Our findings substantiate that, despite their overlap, somatic SETBP1 mutations driving malignancy are more disruptive to the degron than germline SETBP1 mutations causing SGS. Additionally, this suggests that the functional threshold for the development of cancer driven by the disruption of the SETBP1 degron is higher than for the alteration in prenatal development in SGS. Drawing on previous studies of somatic SETBP1 mutations in leukemia, our results reveal a genotype-phenotype correlation in germline SETBP1 mutations spanning a molecular, cellular and clinical phenotype.
  • Bosman, A., Moisik, S. R., Dediu, D., & Waters-Rist, A. (2017). Talking heads: Morphological variation in the human mandible over the last 500 years in the Netherlands. HOMO - Journal of Comparative Human Biology, 68(5), 329-342. doi:10.1016/j.jchb.2017.08.002.

    Abstract

    The primary aim of this paper is to assess patterns of morphological variation in the mandible to investigate changes during the last 500 years in the Netherlands. Three-dimensional geometric morphometrics is used on data collected from adults from three populations living in the Netherlands during three time-periods. Two of these samples come from Dutch archaeological sites (Alkmaar, 1484-1574, n = 37; and Middenbeemster, 1829-1866, n = 51) and were digitized using a 3D laser scanner. The third is a modern sample obtained from MRI scans of 34 modern Dutch individuals. Differences between mandibles are dominated by size. Significant differences in size are found among samples, with on average, males from Alkmaar having the largest mandibles and females from Middenbeemster having the smallest. The results are possibly linked to a softening of the diet, due to a combination of differences in food types and food processing that occurred between these time-periods. Differences in shape are most noticeable between males from Alkmaar and Middenbeemster. Shape differences between males and females are concentrated in the symphysis and ramus, which is mostly the consequence of sexual dimorphism. The relevance of this research is a better understanding of the anatomical variation of the mandible that can occur over an evolutionarily short time, as well as supporting research that has shown plasticity of the mandibular form related to diet and food processing. This plasticity of form must be taken into account in phylogenetic research and when the mandible is used in sex estimation of skeletons.
  • Carrion Castillo, A., Maassen, B., Franke, B., Heister, A., Naber, M., Van der Leij, A., Francks, C., & Fisher, S. E. (2017). Association analysis of dyslexia candidate genes in a Dutch longitudinal sample. European Journal of Human Genetics, 25(4), 452-460. doi:10.1038/ejhg.2016.194.

    Abstract

    Dyslexia is a common specific learning disability with a substantive genetic component. Several candidate genes have been proposed to be implicated in dyslexia susceptibility, such as DYX1C1, ROBO1, KIAA0319, and DCDC2. Associations with variants in these genes have also been reported with a variety of psychometric measures tapping into the underlying processes that might be impaired in dyslexic people. In this study, we first conducted a literature review to select single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in dyslexia candidate genes that had been repeatedly implicated across studies. We then assessed the SNPs for association in the richly phenotyped longitudinal data set from the Dutch Dyslexia Program. We tested for association with several quantitative traits, including word and nonword reading fluency, rapid naming, phoneme deletion, and nonword repetition. In this, we took advantage of the longitudinal nature of the sample to examine if associations were stable across four educational time-points (from 7 to 12 years). Two SNPs in the KIAA0319 gene were nominally associated with rapid naming, and these associations were stable across different ages. Genetic association analysis with complex cognitive traits can be enriched through the use of longitudinal information on trait development.
  • Chen, X. S., Reader, R. H., Hoischen, A., Veltman, J. A., Simpson, N. H., Francks, C., Newbury, D. F., & Fisher, S. E. (2017). Next-generation DNA sequencing identifies novel gene variants and pathways involved in specific language impairment. Scientific Reports, 7: 46105. doi:10.1038/srep46105.

    Abstract

    A significant proportion of children have unexplained problems acquiring proficient linguistic skills despite adequate intelligence and opportunity. Developmental language disorders are highly heritable with substantial societal impact. Molecular studies have begun to identify candidate loci, but much of the underlying genetic architecture remains undetermined. We performed whole-exome sequencing of 43 unrelated probands affected by severe specific language impairment, followed by independent validations with Sanger sequencing, and analyses of segregation patterns in parents and siblings, to shed new light on aetiology. By first focusing on a pre-defined set of known candidates from the literature, we identified potentially pathogenic variants in genes already implicated in diverse language-related syndromes, including ERC1, GRIN2A, and SRPX2. Complementary analyses suggested novel putative candidates carrying validated variants which were predicted to have functional effects, such as OXR1, SCN9A and KMT2D. We also searched for potential “multiple-hit” cases; one proband carried a rare AUTS2 variant in combination with a rare inherited haplotype affecting STARD9, while another carried a novel nonsynonymous variant in SEMA6D together with a rare stop-gain in SYNPR. On broadening scope to all rare and novel variants throughout the exomes, we identified biological themes that were enriched for such variants, including microtubule transport and cytoskeletal regulation.
  • Dediu, D., Janssen, R., & Moisik, S. R. (2017). Language is not isolated from its wider environment: Vocal tract influences on the evolution of speech and language. Language and Communication, 54, 9-20. doi:10.1016/j.langcom.2016.10.002.

    Abstract

    Language is not a purely cultural phenomenon somehow isolated from its wider environment, and we may only understand its origins and evolution by seriously considering its embedding in this environment as well as its multimodal nature. By environment here we understand other aspects of culture (such as communication technology, attitudes towards language contact, etc.), of the physical environment (ultraviolet light incidence, air humidity, etc.), and of the biological infrastructure for language and speech. We are specifically concerned in this paper with the latter, in the form of the biases, constraints and affordances that the anatomy and physiology of the vocal tract create on speech and language. In a nutshell, our argument is that (a) there is an under-appreciated amount of inter-individual variation in vocal tract (VT) anatomy and physiology, (b) variation that is non-randomly distributed across populations, and that (c) results in systematic differences in phonetics and phonology between languages. Relevant differences in VT anatomy include the overall shape of the hard palate, the shape of the alveolar ridge, the relationship between the lower and upper jaw, to mention just a few, and our data offer a new way to systematically explore such differences and their potential impact on speech. These differences generate very small biases that nevertheless can be amplified by the repeated use and transmission of language, affecting language diachrony and resulting in cross-linguistic synchronic differences. Moreover, the same type of biases and processes might have played an essential role in the emergence and evolution of language, and might allow us a glimpse into the speech and language of extinct humans by, for example, reconstructing the anatomy of parts of their vocal tract from the fossil record and extrapolating the biases we find in present-day humans.
  • Dediu, D. (2017). From biology to language change and diversity. In N. J. Enfield (Ed.), Dependencies in language: On the causal ontology of linguistics systems (pp. 39-52). Berlin: Language Science Press.
  • Deriziotis, P., & Fisher, S. E. (2017). Speech and Language: Translating the Genome. Trends in Genetics, 33(9), 642-656. doi:10.1016/j.tig.2017.07.002.

    Abstract

    Investigation of the biological basis of human speech and language is being transformed by developments in molecular technologies, including high-throughput genotyping and next-generation sequencing of whole genomes. These advances are shedding new light on the genetic architecture underlying language-related disorders (speech apraxia, specific language impairment, developmental dyslexia) as well as that contributing to variation in relevant skills in the general population. We discuss how state-of-the-art methods are uncovering a range of genetic mechanisms, from rare mutations of large effect to common polymorphisms that increase risk in a subtle way, while converging on neurogenetic pathways that are shared between distinct disorders. We consider the future of the field, highlighting the unusual challenges and opportunities associated with studying genomics of language-related traits.
  • Fisher, S. E. (2017). Evolution of language: Lessons from the genome. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 24(1), 34-40. doi: 10.3758/s13423-016-1112-8.

    Abstract

    The post-genomic era is an exciting time for researchers interested in the biology of speech and language. Substantive advances in molecular methodologies have opened up entire vistas of investigation that were not previously possible, or in some cases even imagined. Speculations concerning the origins of human cognitive traits are being transformed into empirically addressable questions, generating specific hypotheses that can be explicitly tested using data collected from both the natural world and experimental settings. In this article, I discuss a number of promising lines of research in this area. For example, the field has begun to identify genes implicated in speech and language skills, including not just disorders but also the normal range of abilities. Such genes provide powerful entry points for gaining insights into neural bases and evolutionary origins, using sophisticated experimental tools from molecular neuroscience and developmental neurobiology. At the same time, sequencing of ancient hominin genomes is giving us an unprecedented view of the molecular genetic changes that have occurred during the evolution of our species. Synthesis of data from these complementary sources offers an opportunity to robustly evaluate alternative accounts of language evolution. Of course, this endeavour remains challenging on many fronts, as I also highlight in the article. Nonetheless, such an integrated approach holds great potential for untangling the complexities of the capacities that make us human.
  • Gialluisi, A., Guadalupe, T., Francks, C., & Fisher, S. E. (2017). Neuroimaging genetic analyses of novel candidate genes associated with reading and language. Brain and Language, 172, 9-15. doi:10.1016/j.bandl.2016.07.002.

    Abstract

    Neuroimaging measures provide useful endophenotypes for tracing genetic effects on reading and language. A recent Genome-Wide Association Scan Meta-Analysis (GWASMA) of reading and language skills (N = 1862) identified strongest associations with the genes CCDC136/FLNC and RBFOX2. Here, we follow up the top findings from this GWASMA, through neuroimaging genetics in an independent sample of 1275 healthy adults. To minimize multiple-testing, we used a multivariate approach, focusing on cortical regions consistently implicated in prior literature on developmental dyslexia and language impairment. Specifically, we investigated grey matter surface area and thickness of five regions selected a priori: middle temporal gyrus (MTG); pars opercularis and pars triangularis in the inferior frontal gyrus (IFG-PO and IFG-PT); postcentral parietal gyrus (PPG) and superior temporal gyrus (STG). First, we analysed the top associated polymorphisms from the reading/language GWASMA: rs59197085 (CCDC136/FLNC) and rs5995177 (RBFOX2). There was significant multivariate association of rs5995177 with cortical thickness, driven by effects on left PPG, right MTG, right IFG (both PO and PT), and STG bilaterally. The minor allele, previously associated with reduced reading-language performance, showed negative effects on grey matter thickness. Next, we performed exploratory gene-wide analysis of CCDC136/FLNC and RBFOX2; no other associations surpassed significance thresholds. RBFOX2 encodes an important neuronal regulator of alternative splicing. Thus, the prior reported association of rs5995177 with reading/language performance could potentially be mediated by reduced thickness in associated cortical regions. In future, this hypothesis could be tested using sufficiently large samples containing both neuroimaging data and quantitative reading/language scores from the same individuals.

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  • Guadalupe, T., Mathias, S. R., Van Erp, T. G. M., Whelan, C. D., Zwiers, M. P., Abe, Y., Abramovic, L., Agartz, I., Andreassen, O. A., Arias-Vásquez, A., Aribisala, B. S., Armstrong, N. J., Arolt, V., Artiges, E., Ayesa-Arriola, R., Baboyan, V. G., Banaschewski, T., Barker, G., Bastin, M. E., Baune, B. T., Blangero, J., Bokde, A. L., Boedhoe, P. S., Bose, A., Brem, S., Brodaty, H., Bromberg, U., Brooks, S., Büchel, C., Buitelaar, J., Calhoun, V. D., Cannon, D. M., Cattrell, A., Cheng, Y., Conrod, P. J., Conzelmann, A., Corvin, A., Crespo-Facorro, B., Crivello, F., Dannlowski, U., De Zubicaray, G. I., De Zwarte, S. M., Deary, I. J., Desrivières, S., Doan, N. T., Donohoe, G., Dørum, E. S., Ehrlich, S., Espeseth, T., Fernández, G., Flor, H., Fouche, J.-P., Frouin, V., Fukunaga, M., Gallinat, J., Garavan, H., Gill, M., Suarez, A. G., Gowland, P., Grabe, H. J., Grotegerd, D., Gruber, O., Hagenaars, S., Hashimoto, R., Hauser, T. U., Heinz, A., Hibar, D. P., Hoekstra, P. J., Hoogman, M., Howells, F. M., Hu, H., Hulshoff Pol, H. E.., Huyser, C., Ittermann, B., Jahanshad, N., Jönsson, E. G., Jurk, S., Kahn, R. S., Kelly, S., Kraemer, B., Kugel, H., Kwon, J. S., Lemaitre, H., Lesch, K.-P., Lochner, C., Luciano, M., Marquand, A. F., Martin, N. G., Martínez-Zalacaín, I., Martinot, J.-L., Mataix-Cols, D., Mather, K., McDonald, C., McMahon, K. L., Medland, S. E., Menchón, J. M., Morris, D. W., Mothersill, O., Maniega, S. M., Mwangi, B., Nakamae, T., Nakao, T., Narayanaswaamy, J. C., Nees, F., Nordvik, J. E., Onnink, A. M. H., Opel, N., Ophoff, R., Martinot, M.-L.-P., Orfanos, D. P., Pauli, P., Paus, T., Poustka, L., Reddy, J. Y., Renteria, M. E., Roiz-Santiáñez, R., Roos, A., Royle, N. A., Sachdev, P., Sánchez-Juan, P., Schmaal, L., Schumann, G., Shumskaya, E., Smolka, M. N., Soares, J. C., Soriano-Mas, C., Stein, D. J., Strike, L. T., Toro, R., Turner, J. A., Tzourio-Mazoyer, N., Uhlmann, A., Valdés Hernández, M., Van den Heuvel, O. A., Van der Meer, D., Van Haren, N. E.., Veltman, D. J., Venkatasubramanian, G., Vetter, N. C., Vuletic, D., Walitza, S., Walter, H., Walton, E., Wang, Z., Wardlaw, J., Wen, W., Westlye, L. T., Whelan, R., Wittfeld, K., Wolfers, T., Wright, M. J., Xu, J., Xu, X., Yun, J.-Y., Zhao, J., Franke, B., Thompson, P. M., Glahn, D. C., Mazoyer, B., Fisher, S. E., & Francks, C. (2017). Human subcortical asymmetries in 15,847 people worldwide reveal effects of age and sex. Brain Imaging and Behavior, 11(5), 1497-1514. doi:10.1007/s11682-016-9629-z.

    Abstract

    The two hemispheres of the human brain differ functionally and structurally. Despite over a century of research, the extent to which brain asymmetry is influenced by sex, handedness, age, and genetic factors is still controversial. Here we present the largest ever analysis of subcortical brain asymmetries, in a harmonized multi-site study using meta-analysis methods. Volumetric asymmetry of seven subcortical structures was assessed in 15,847 MRI scans from 52 datasets worldwide. There were sex differences in the asymmetry of the globus pallidus and putamen. Heritability estimates, derived from 1170 subjects belonging to 71 extended pedigrees, revealed that additive genetic factors influenced the asymmetry of these two structures and that of the hippocampus and thalamus. Handedness had no detectable effect on subcortical asymmetries, even in this unprecedented sample size, but the asymmetry of the putamen varied with age. Genetic drivers of asymmetry in the hippocampus, thalamus and basal ganglia may affect variability in human cognition, including susceptibility to psychiatric disorders.

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  • Guadalupe, T. (2017). The biology of variation in anatomical brain asymmetries. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.

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  • Hibar, D. P., Adams, H. H. H., Jahanshad, N., Chauhan, G., Stein, J. L., Hofer, E., Rentería, M. E., Bis, J. C., Arias-Vasquez, A., Ikram, M. K., Desrivieres, S., Vernooij, M. W., Abramovic, L., Alhusaini, S., Amin, N., Andersson, M., Arfanakis, K., Aribisala, B. S., Armstrong, N. J., Athanasiu, L., Axelsson, T., Beecham, A. H., Beiser, A., Bernard, M., Blanton, S. H., Bohlken, M. M., Boks, M. P., Bralten, J., Brickman, A. M., Carmichael, O., Chakravarty, M. M., Chen, Q., Ching, C. R. K., Chouraki, V., Cuellar-Partida, G., Crivello, F., den Brabander, A., Doan, N. T., Ehrlich, S., Giddaluru, S., Goldman, A. L., Gottesman, R. F., Grimm, O., Griswold, M. E., Guadalupe, T., Gutman, B. A., Hass, J., Haukvik, U. K., Hoehn, D., Holmes, A. J., Hoogman, M., Janowitz, D., Jia, T., Jørgensen, K. N., Mirza-Schreiber, N., Kasperaviciute, D., Kim, S., Klein, M., Krämer, B., Lee, P. H., Liewald, D. C. M., Lopez, L. M., Luciano, M., Macare, C., Marquand, A. F., Matarin, M., Mather, K. A., Mattheisen, M., McKay, D. R., Milaneschi, Y., Maniega, S. M., Nho, K., Nugent, A. C., Nyquist, P., Olde Loohuis, L. M., Oosterlaan, J., Papmeyer, M., Pirpamer, L., Pütz, B., Ramasamy, A., Richards, J. S., Risacher, S., Roiz-Santiañez, R., Rommelse, N., Ropele, S., Rose, E., Royle, N. A., Rundek, T., Sämann, P. G., Saremi, A., Satizabal, C. L., Schmaal, L., Schork, A. J., Shen, L., Shin, J., Shumskaya, E., Smith, A. V., Sprooten, E., Strike, L. T., Teumer, A., Tordesillas-Gutierrez, D., Toro, R., Trabzuni, D., Trompet, S., Vaidya, D., Van der Grond, J., Van der Lee, S. J., Van der Meer, D., Van Donkelaar, M. M. J., Van Eijk, K. R., van Erp, T. G. M., Van Rooij, D., Walton, E., Westlye, L. T., Whelan, C. D., Windham, B. G., Winkler, A. M., Wittfeld, K. M., Woldehawariat, G., Wolf, C., Wolfers, T., Yanek, L. R., Yang, J., Zijdenbos, A., Zwiers, M. P., Agartz, I., Almasy, L., Ames, D., Amouyel, P., Andreassen, O. A., Arepalli, S., Assareh, A. A., Barral, S., Bastin, M. E., Becker, D. M., Becker, J. T., Bennett, D. A., Blangero, J., Van Bokhoven, H., Boomsma, D. I., Brodaty, H., Brouwer, R. M., Brunner, H. G., Buckner, R. L., Buitelaar, J. K., Bulayeva, K. B., Cahn, W., Calhoun, V. D., Cannon, D. M., Cavalleri, G. L., Cheng, C.-Y., Cichon, S., Cookson, M. R., Corvin, A., Crespo-Facorro, B., Curran, J. E., Czisch, M., Dale, A. M., Davies, G. E., De Craen, A. J. M., De Geus, E. J. C., De Jager, P. L., De Zubicaray, G. i., Deary, I. J., Debette, S., DeCarli, C., Delanty, N., Depondt, C., DeStefano, A., Dillman, A., Djurovic, S., Donohoe, G., Drevets, W. C., Duggirala, R., Dyer, T. D., Enzinger, C., Erk, S., Espeseth, T., Fedko, I. O., Fernández, G., Ferrucci, L., Fisher, S. E., Fleischman, D. A., Ford, I., Fornage, M., Foroud, T. M., Fox, P. T., Francks, C., Fukunaga, M., Gibbs, J. R., Glahn, D. C., Gollub, R. L., Göring, H. H. H., Green, R. C., Gruber, O., Gudnason, V., Guelfi, S., Haberg, A. K., Hansell, N. K., Hardy, J., Hartman, C. A., Hashimoto, R., Hegenscheid, K., Heinz, A., Le Hellard, S., Hernandez, D. G., Heslenfeld, D. J., Ho, B.-C., Hoekstra, P. J., Hoffmann, W., Hofman, A., Holsboer, F., Homuth, G., Hosten, N., Hottenga, J.-J., Huentelman, M., Pol, H. E. H., Ikeda, M., Jack Jr., C. R., Jenkinson, M., Johnson, R., Jonsson, E. G., Jukema, J. W., Kahn, R. S., Kanai, R., Kloszewska, I., Knopman, D. S., Kochunov, P., Kwok, J. B., Lawrie, S. M., Lemaître, H., Liu, X., Longo, D. L., Lopez, O. L., Lovestone, S., Martinez, O., Martinot, J.-L., Mattay, V. S., McDonald, C., Mcintosh, A. M., McMahon, F., McMahon, K. L., Mecocci, P., Melle, I., Meyer-Lindenberg, A., Mohnke, S., Montgomery, G. W., Morris, D. W., Mosley, T. H., Mühleisen, T. W., Müller-Myhsok, B., Nalls, M. A., Nauck, M., Nichols, T. E., Niessen, W. J., Nöthen, M. M., Nyberg, L., Ohi, K., Olvera, R. L., Ophoff, R. A., Pandolfo, M., Paus, T., Pausova, Z., Penninx, B. W. J. H., Pike, G. B., Potkin, S. G., Psaty, B. M., Reppermund, S., Rietschel, M., Roffman, J. L., Romanczuk-Seiferth, N., Rotter, J. I., Ryten, M., Sacco, R. L., Sachdev, P. S., Saykin, A. J., Schmidt, R., Schmidt, H., Schofield, P. R., Sigursson, S., Simmons, A., Singleton, A., Sisodiya, S. M., Smith, C., Smoller, J. W., Soininen, H., Steen, V. M., Stott, D. J., Sussmann, J. E., Thalamuthu, A., Toga, A. W., Traynor, B. J., Troncoso, J., Tsolaki, M., Tzourio, C., Uitterlinden, A. G., Hernández, M. C. V., Van der Brug, M., Van der Lugt, A., Van der Wee, N. J. A., Van Haren, N. E. M., Van Tol, M.-J., Vardarajan, B. N., Vellas, B., Veltman, D. J., Völzke, H., Walter, H., Wardlaw, J. M., Wassink, T. H., Weale, M. e., Weinberger, D. R., Weiner, M., Wen, W., Westman, E., White, T., Wong, T. Y., Wright, C. B., Zielke, R. H., Zonderman, A. B., Martin, N. G., Van Duijn, C. M., Wright, M. J., Longstreth, W. W. T., Schumann, G., Grabe, H. J., Franke, B., Launer, L. J., Medland, S. E., Seshadri, S., Thompson, P. M., & Ikram, A. (2017). Novel genetic loci associated with hippocampal volume. Nature Communications, 8: 13624. doi:10.1038/ncomms13624.

    Abstract

    The hippocampal formation is a brain structure integrally involved in episodic memory, spatial navigation, cognition and stress responsiveness. Structural abnormalities in hippocampal volume and shape are found in several common neuropsychiatric disorders. To identify the genetic underpinnings of hippocampal structure here we perform a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of 33,536 individuals and discover six independent loci significantly associated with hippocampal volume, four of them novel. Of the novel loci, three lie within genes (ASTN2, DPP4 and MAST4) and one is found 200 kb upstream of SHH. A hippocampal subfield analysis shows that a locus within the MSRB3 gene shows evidence of a localized effect along the dentate gyrus, subiculum, CA1 and fissure. Further, we show that genetic variants associated with decreased hippocampal volume are also associated with increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease (rg=−0.155). Our findings suggest novel biological pathways through which human genetic variation influences hippocampal volume and risk for neuropsychiatric illness.

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    ncomms13624-s1.pdf ncomms13624-s2.xlsx
  • Kavaklioglu, T., Guadalupe, T., Zwiers, M., Marquand, A. F., Onnink, M., Shumskaya, E., Brunner, H., Fernandez, G., Fisher, S. E., & Francks, C. (2017). Structural asymmetries of the human cerebellum in relation to cerebral cortical asymmetries and handedness. Brain Structure and Function, 22, 1611-1623. doi:10.1007/s00429-016-1295-9.

    Abstract

    There is evidence that the human cerebellum is involved not only in motor control but also in other cognitive functions. Several studies have shown that language-related activation is lateralized toward the right cerebellar hemisphere in most people, in accordance with leftward cerebral cortical lateralization for language and a general contralaterality of cerebral–cerebellar activations. In terms of behavior, hand use elicits asymmetrical activation in the cerebellum, while hand preference is weakly associated with language lateralization. However, it is not known how, or whether, these functional relations are reflected in anatomy. We investigated volumetric gray matter asymmetries of cerebellar lobules in an MRI data set comprising 2226 subjects. We tested these cerebellar asymmetries for associations with handedness, and for correlations with cerebral cortical anatomical asymmetries of regions important for language or hand motor control, as defined by two different automated image analysis methods and brain atlases, and supplemented with extensive visual quality control. No significant associations of cerebellar asymmetries to handedness were found. Some significant associations of cerebellar lobular asymmetries to cerebral cortical asymmetries were found, but none of these correlations were greater than 0.14, and they were mostly method-/atlas-dependent. On the basis of this large and highly powered study, we conclude that there is no overt structural manifestation of cerebellar functional lateralization and connectivity, in respect of hand motor control or language laterality
  • Klein, M., Van Donkelaar, M., Verhoef, E., & Franke, B. (2017). Imaging genetics in neurodevelopmental psychopathology. American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics, 174(5), 485-537. doi:10.1002/ajmg.b.32542.

    Abstract

    Neurodevelopmental disorders are defined by highly heritable problems during development and brain growth. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), and intellectual disability (ID) are frequent neurodevelopmental disorders, with common comorbidity among them. Imaging genetics studies on the role of disease-linked genetic variants on brain structure and function have been performed to unravel the etiology of these disorders. Here, we reviewed imaging genetics literature on these disorders attempting to understand the mechanisms of individual disorders and their clinical overlap. For ADHD and ASD, we selected replicated candidate genes implicated through common genetic variants. For ID, which is mainly caused by rare variants, we included genes for relatively frequent forms of ID occurring comorbid with ADHD or ASD. We reviewed case-control studies and studies of risk variants in healthy individuals. Imaging genetics studies for ADHD were retrieved for SLC6A3/DAT1, DRD2, DRD4, NOS1, and SLC6A4/5HTT. For ASD, studies on CNTNAP2, MET, OXTR, and SLC6A4/5HTT were found. For ID, we reviewed the genes FMR1, TSC1 and TSC2, NF1, and MECP2. Alterations in brain volume, activity, and connectivity were observed. Several findings were consistent across studies, implicating, for example, SLC6A4/5HTT in brain activation and functional connectivity related to emotion regulation. However, many studies had small sample sizes, and hypothesis-based, brain region-specific studies were common. Results from available studies confirm that imaging genetics can provide insight into the link between genes, disease-related behavior, and the brain. However, the field is still in its early stages, and conclusions about shared mechanisms cannot yet be drawn.
  • De Kovel, C. G. F., Lisgo, S., Karlebach, G., Ju, J., Cheng, G., Fisher, S. E., & Francks, C. (2017). Left-right asymmetry of maturation rates in human embryonic neural development. Biological Psychiatry, 82(3), 204-212. doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2017.01.016.

    Abstract

    Background Left-right asymmetry is a fundamental organizing feature of the human brain, and neuro-psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia sometimes involve alterations of brain asymmetry. As early as 8 weeks post conception, the majority of human fetuses move their right arms more than their left arms, but because nerve fibre tracts are still descending from the forebrain at this stage, spinal-muscular asymmetries are likely to play an important developmental role. Methods We used RNA sequencing to measure gene expression levels in the left and right spinal cords, and left and right hindbrains, of 18 post-mortem human embryos aged 4-8 weeks post conception. Genes showing embryonic lateralization were tested for an enrichment of signals in genome-wide association data for schizophrenia. Results The left side of the embryonic spinal cord was found to mature faster than the right side. Both sides transitioned from transcriptional profiles associated with cell division and proliferation at earlier stages, to neuronal differentiation and function at later stages, but the two sides were not in synchrony (p = 2.2 E-161). The hindbrain showed a left-right mirrored pattern compared to the spinal cord, consistent with the well-known crossing over of function between these two structures. Genes that showed lateralization in the embryonic spinal cord were enriched for association signals with schizophrenia (p = 4.3 E-05). Conclusions These are the earliest-stage left-right differences of human neural development ever reported. Disruption of the lateralised developmental programme may play a role in the genetic susceptibility to schizophrenia.

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    mmc1.pdf
  • De Kovel, C. G. F., Syrbe, S., Brilstra, E. H., Verbeek, N., Kerr, B., Dubbs, H., Bayat, A., Desai, S., Naidu, S., Srivastava, S., Cagaylan, H., Yis, U., Saunders, C., Rook, M., Plugge, S., Muhle, H., Afawi, Z., Klein, K. M., Jayaraman, V., Rajagopalan, R., Goldberg, E., Marsh, E., Kessler, S., Bergqvist, C., Conlin, L. K., Krok, B. L., Thiffault, I., Pendziwiat, M., Helbig, I., Polster, T., Borggraefe, I., Lemke, J. R., Van den Boogaardt, M. J., Moller, R. S., & Koeleman, B. P. C. (2017). Neurodevelopmental Disorders Caused by De Novo Variants in KCNB1 Genotypes and Phenotypes. JAMA Neurology, 74(10), 1228-1236. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2017.1714.

    Abstract

    Importance Knowing the range of symptoms seen in patients with a missense or loss-of-function variant in KCNB1 and how these symptoms correlate with the type of variant will help clinicians with diagnosis and prognosis when treating new patients. Objectives To investigate the clinical spectrum associated with KCNB1 variants and the genotype-phenotype correlations. Design, Setting, and Participants This study summarized the clinical and genetic information of patients with a presumed pathogenic variant in KCNB1.Patients were identified in research projects or during clinical testing. Information on patients from previously published articles was collected and authors contacted if feasible. All patients were seen at a clinic at one of the participating institutes because of presumed genetic disorder. They were tested in a clinical setting or included in a research project. Main Outcomes and Measures The genetic variant and its inheritance and information on the patient's symptoms and characteristics in a predefined format. All variants were identified with massive parallel sequencing and confirmed with Sanger sequencing in the patient. Absence of the variant in the parents could be confirmed with Sanger sequencing in all families except one. Results Of 26 patients (10 female, 15 male, 1 unknown; mean age at inclusion, 9.8 years; age range, 2-32 years) with developmental delay, 20 (77%) carried a missense variant in the ion channel domain of KCNB1, with a concentration of variants in region S5 to S6. Three variants that led to premature stops were located in the C-terminal and 3 in the ion channel domain. Twenty-one of 25 patients (84%) had seizures, with 9 patients (36%) starting with epileptic spasms between 3 and 18 months of age. All patients had developmental delay, with 17 (65%) experiencing severe developmental delay; 14 (82%) with severe delay had behavioral problems. The developmental delay was milder in 4 of 6 patients with stop variants and in a patient with a variant in the S2 transmembrane element rather than the S4 to S6 region. Conclusions and Relevance De novo KCNB1 missense variants in the ion channel domain and loss-of-function variants in this domain and the C-terminal likely cause neurodevelopmental disorders with or without seizures. Patients with presumed pathogenic variants in KCNB1 have a variable phenotype. However, the type and position of the variants in the protein are (imperfectly) correlated with the severity of the disorder.
  • Moisik, S. R., & Dediu, D. (2017). Anatomical biasing and clicks: Evidence from biomechanical modeling. Journal of Language Evolution, 2(1), 37-51. doi:10.1093/jole/lzx004.

    Abstract

    It has been observed by several researchers that the Khoisan palate tends to lack a prominent alveolar ridge. A biomechanical model of click production was created to examine if these sounds might be subject to an anatomical bias associated with alveolar ridge size. Results suggest the bias is plausible, taking the form of decreased articulatory effort and improved volume change characteristics; however, further modeling and experimental research is required to solidify the claim.

    Supplementary material

    lzx004_Supp.zip
  • Moisik, S. R., & Gick, B. (2017). The quantal larynx: The stable regions of laryngeal biomechanics and implications for speech production. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 60, 540-560. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-S-16-0019.

    Abstract

    Purpose: Recent proposals suggest that (a) the high dimensionality of speech motor control may be reduced via modular neuromuscular organization that takes advantage of intrinsic biomechanical regions of stability and (b) computational modeling provides a means to study whether and how such modularization works. In this study, the focus is on the larynx, a structure that is fundamental to speech production because of its role in phonation and numerous articulatory functions. Method: A 3-dimensional model of the larynx was created using the ArtiSynth platform (http://www.artisynth.org). This model was used to simulate laryngeal articulatory states, including inspiration, glottal fricative, modal prephonation, plain glottal stop, vocal–ventricular stop, and aryepiglotto– epiglottal stop and fricative. Results: Speech-relevant laryngeal biomechanics is rich with “quantal” or highly stable regions within muscle activation space. Conclusions: Quantal laryngeal biomechanics complement a modular view of speech control and have implications for the articulatory–biomechanical grounding of numerous phonetic and phonological phenomena
  • Negwer, M., & Schubert, D. (2017). Talking convergence: Growing evidence links FOXP2 and retinoic acidin shaping speech-related motor circuitry. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 11: 19. doi:10.3389/fnins.2017.00019.

    Abstract

    A commentary on FOXP2 drives neuronal differentiation by interacting with retinoic acid signaling pathways by Devanna, P., Middelbeek, J., and Vernes, S. C. (2014). Front. Cell. Neurosci. 8:305. doi: 10.3389/fncel.2014.00305
  • Nivard, M. G., Lubke, G. H., Dolan, C. V., Evans, D. M., St Pourcain, B., Munafo, M. R., & Middeldorp, C. M. (2017). Joint developmental trajectories of internalizing and externalizing disorders between childhood and adolescence. Development and Psychopathology, 29(3), 919-928. doi:10.1017/S0954579416000572.

    Abstract

    This study sought to identify trajectories of DSM-IV based internalizing (INT) and externalizing (EXT) problem scores across childhood and adolescence and to provide insight into the comorbidity by modeling the co-occurrence of INT and EXT trajectories. INT and EXT were measured repeatedly between age 7 and age 15 years in over 7,000 children and analyzed using growth mixture models. Five trajectories were identified for both INT and EXT, including very low, low, decreasing, and increasing trajectories. In addition, an adolescent onset trajectory was identified for INT and a stable high trajectory was identified for EXT. Multinomial regression showed that similar EXT and INT trajectories were associated. However, the adolescent onset INT trajectory was independent of high EXT trajectories, and persisting EXT was mainly associated with decreasing INT. Sex and early life environmental risk factors predicted EXT and, to a lesser extent, INT trajectories. The association between trajectories indicates the need to consider comorbidity when a child presents with INT or EXT disorders, particularly when symptoms start early. This is less necessary when INT symptoms start at adolescence. Future studies should investigate the etiology of co-occurring INT and EXT and the specific treatment needs of these severely affected children.
  • Nivard, M. G., Gage, S. H., Hottenga, J. J., van Beijsterveldt, C. E. M., Abdellaoui, A., Bartels, M., Baselmans, B. M. L., Ligthart, L., St Pourcain, B., Boomsma, D. I., Munafò, M. R., & Middeldorp, C. M. (2017). Genetic overlap between schizophrenia and developmental psychopathology: Longitudinal and multivariate polygenic risk prediction of common psychiatric traits during development. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 43(6), 1197-1207. doi:10.1093/schbul/sbx031.

    Abstract

    Background: Several nonpsychotic psychiatric disorders in childhood and adolescence can precede the onset of schizophrenia, but the etiology of this relationship remains unclear. We investigated to what extent the association between schizophrenia and psychiatric disorders in childhood is explained by correlated genetic risk factors. Methods: Polygenic risk scores (PRS), reflecting an individual’s genetic risk for schizophrenia, were constructed for 2588 children from the Netherlands Twin Register (NTR) and 6127 from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents And Children (ALSPAC). The associations between schizophrenia PRS and measures of anxiety, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and oppositional defiant disorder/conduct disorder (ODD/CD) were estimated at age 7, 10, 12/13, and 15 years in the 2 cohorts. Results were then meta-analyzed, and a meta-regression analysis was performed to test differences in effects sizes over, age and disorders. Results: Schizophrenia PRS were associated with childhood and adolescent psychopathology. Meta-regression analysis showed differences in the associations over disorders, with the strongest association with childhood and adolescent depression and a weaker association for ODD/CD at age 7. The associations increased with age and this increase was steepest for ADHD and ODD/CD. Genetic correlations varied between 0.10 and 0.25. Conclusion: By optimally using longitudinal data across diagnoses in a multivariate meta-analysis this study sheds light on the development of childhood disorders into severe adult psychiatric disorders. The results are consistent with a common genetic etiology of schizophrenia and developmental psychopathology as well as with a stronger shared genetic etiology between schizophrenia and adolescent onset psychopathology.
  • Ocklenburg, S., Schmitz, J., Moinfar, Z., Moser, D., Klose, R., Lor, S., Kunz, G., Tegenthoff, M., Faustmann, P., Francks, C., Epplen, J. T., Kumsta, R., & Güntürkün, O. (2017). Epigenetic regulation of lateralized fetal spinal gene expression underlies hemispheric asymmetries. eLife, 6: e22784. doi:10.7554/eLife.22784.001.

    Abstract

    Lateralization is a fundamental principle of nervous system organization but its molecular determinants are mostly unknown. In humans, asymmetric gene expression in the fetal cortex has been suggested as the molecular basis of handedness. However, human fetuses already show considerable asymmetries in arm movements before the motor cortex is functionally linked to the spinal cord, making it more likely that spinal gene expression asymmetries form the molecular basis of handedness. We analyzed genome-wide mRNA expression and DNA methylation in cervical and anterior thoracal spinal cord segments of five human fetuses and show development-dependent gene expression asymmetries. These gene expression asymmetries were epigenetically regulated by miRNA expression asymmetries in the TGF-β signaling pathway and lateralized methylation of CpG islands. Our findings suggest that molecular mechanisms for epigenetic regulation within the spinal cord constitute the starting point for handedness, implying a fundamental shift in our understanding of the ontogenesis of hemispheric asymmetries in humans
  • Sollis, E., Deriziotis, P., Saitsu, H., Miyake, N., Matsumoto, N., J.V.Hoffer, M. J. V., Ruivenkamp, C. A., Alders, M., Okamoto, N., Bijlsma, E. K., Plomp, A. S., & Fisher, S. E. (2017). Equivalent missense variant in the FOXP2 and FOXP1 transcription factors causes distinct neurodevelopmental disorders. Human Mutation, 38(11), 1542-1554. doi:10.1002/humu.23303.

    Abstract

    The closely related paralogues FOXP2 and FOXP1 encode transcription factors with shared functions in the development of many tissues, including the brain. However, while mutations in FOXP2 lead to a speech/language disorder characterized by childhood apraxia of speech (CAS), the clinical profile of FOXP1 variants includes a broader neurodevelopmental phenotype with global developmental delay, intellectual disability and speech/language impairment. Using clinical whole-exome sequencing, we report an identical de novo missense FOXP1 variant identified in three unrelated patients. The variant, p.R514H, is located in the forkhead-box DNA-binding domain and is equivalent to the well-studied p.R553H FOXP2 variant that co-segregates with CAS in a large UK family. We present here for the first time a direct comparison of the molecular and clinical consequences of the same mutation affecting the equivalent residue in FOXP1 and FOXP2. Detailed functional characterization of the two variants in cell model systems revealed very similar molecular consequences, including aberrant subcellular localization, disruption of transcription factor activity and deleterious effects on protein interactions. Nonetheless, clinical manifestations were broader and more severe in the three cases carrying the p.R514H FOXP1 variant than in individuals with the p.R553H variant related to CAS, highlighting divergent roles of FOXP2 and FOXP1 in neurodevelopment.

    Supplementary material

    humu23303-sup-0001-SuppMat.pdf
  • Stergiakouli, E., Martin, J., Hamshere, M. L., Heron, J., St Pourcain, B., Timpson, N. J., Thapar, A., & Smith, G. D. (2017). Association between polygenic risk scores for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and educational and cognitive outcomes in the general population. International Journal of Epidemiology, 46(2), 421-428. doi:10.1093/ije/dyw216.

    Abstract

    Background: Children with a diagnosis of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have lower cognitive ability and are at risk of adverse educational outcomes; ADHD genetic risks have been found to predict childhood cognitive ability and other neurodevelopmental traits in the general population; thus genetic risks might plausibly also contribute to cognitive ability later in development and to educational underachievement. Methods: We generated ADHD polygenic risk scores in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children participants (maximum N: 6928 children and 7280 mothers) based on the results of a discovery clinical sample, a genome-wide association study of 727 cases with ADHD diagnosis and 5081 controls. We tested if ADHD polygenic risk scores were associated with educational outcomes and IQ in adolescents and their mothers. Results: High ADHD polygenic scores in adolescents were associated with worse educational outcomes at Key Stage 3 [national tests conducted at age 13–14 years; β = −1.4 (−2.0 to −0.8), P = 2.3 × 10−6), at General Certificate of Secondary Education exams at age 15–16 years (β = −4.0 (−6.1 to −1.9), P = 1.8 × 10−4], reduced odds of sitting Key Stage 5 examinations at age 16–18 years [odds ratio (OR) = 0.90 (0.88 to 0.97), P = 0.001] and lower IQ scores at age 15.5 [β = −0.8 (−1.2 to −0.4), P = 2.4 × 10−4]. Moreover, maternal ADHD polygenic scores were associated with lower maternal educational achievement [β = −0.09 (−0.10 to −0.06), P = 0.005] and lower maternal IQ [β = −0.6 (−1.2 to −0.1), P = 0.03]. Conclusions: ADHD diagnosis risk alleles impact on functional outcomes in two generations (mother and child) and likely have intergenerational environmental effects.
  • Stergiakouli, E., Smith, G. D., Martin, J., Skuse, D. H., Viechtbauer, W., Ring, S. M., Ronald, A., Evans, D. E., Fisher, S. E., Thapar, A., & St Pourcain, B. (2017). Shared genetic influences between dimensional ASD and ADHD symptoms during child and adolescent development. Molecular Autism, 8: 18. doi:10.1186/s13229-017-0131-2.

    Abstract

    Background: Shared genetic influences between attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) symptoms have been reported. Cross-trait genetic relationships are, however, subject to dynamic changes during development. We investigated the continuity of genetic overlap between ASD and ADHD symptoms in a general population sample during childhood and adolescence. We also studied uni- and cross-dimensional trait-disorder links with respect to genetic ADHD and ASD risk. Methods: Social-communication difficulties (N ≤ 5551, Social and Communication Disorders Checklist, SCDC) and combined hyperactive-impulsive/inattentive ADHD symptoms (N ≤ 5678, Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, SDQ-ADHD) were repeatedly measured in a UK birth cohort (ALSPAC, age 7 to 17 years). Genome-wide summary statistics on clinical ASD (5305 cases; 5305 pseudo-controls) and ADHD (4163 cases; 12,040 controls/pseudo-controls) were available from the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium. Genetic trait variances and genetic overlap between phenotypes were estimated using genome-wide data. Results: In the general population, genetic influences for SCDC and SDQ-ADHD scores were shared throughout development. Genetic correlations across traits reached a similar strength and magnitude (cross-trait rg ≤ 1, pmin = 3 × 10−4) as those between repeated measures of the same trait (within-trait rg ≤ 0.94, pmin = 7 × 10−4). Shared genetic influences between traits, especially during later adolescence, may implicate variants in K-RAS signalling upregulated genes (p-meta = 6.4 × 10−4). Uni-dimensionally, each population-based trait mapped to the expected behavioural continuum: risk-increasing alleles for clinical ADHD were persistently associated with SDQ-ADHD scores throughout development (marginal regression R2 = 0.084%). An age-specific genetic overlap between clinical ASD and social-communication difficulties during childhood was also shown, as per previous reports. Cross-dimensionally, however, neither SCDC nor SDQ-ADHD scores were linked to genetic risk for disorder. Conclusions: In the general population, genetic aetiologies between social-communication difficulties and ADHD symptoms are shared throughout child and adolescent development and may implicate similar biological pathways that co-vary during development. Within both the ASD and the ADHD dimension, population-based traits are also linked to clinical disorder, although much larger clinical discovery samples are required to reliably detect cross-dimensional trait-disorder relationships.
  • Tachmazidou, I., Süveges, D., Min, J. L., Ritchie, G. R. S., Steinberg, J., Walter, K., Iotchkova, V., Schwartzentruber, J., Huang, J., Memari, Y., McCarthy, S., Crawford, A. A., Bombieri, C., Cocca, M., Farmaki, A.-E., Gaunt, T. R., Jousilahti, P., Kooijman, M. N., Lehne, B., Malerba, G., Männistö, S., Matchan, A., Medina-Gomez, C., Metrustry, S. J., Nag, A., Ntalla, I., Paternoster, L., Rayner, N. W., Sala, C., Scott, W. R., Shihab, H. A., Southam, L., St Pourcain, B., Traglia, M., Trajanoska, K., Zaza, G., Zhang, W., Artigas, M. S., Bansal, N., Benn, M., Chen, Z., Danecek, P., Lin, W.-Y., Locke, A., Luan, J., Manning, A. K., Mulas, A., Sidore, C., Tybjaerg-Hansen, A., Varbo, A., Zoledziewska, M., Finan, C., Hatzikotoulas, K., Hendricks, A. E., Kemp, J. P., Moayyeri, A., Panoutsopoulou, K., Szpak, M., Wilson, S. G., Boehnke, M., Cucca, F., Di Angelantonio, E., Langenberg, C., Lindgren, C., McCarthy, M. I., Morris, A. P., Nordestgaard, B. G., Scott, R. A., Tobin, M. D., Wareham, N. J., Burton, P., Chambers, J. C., Smith, G. D., Dedoussis, G., Felix, J. F., Franco, O. H., Gambaro, G., Gasparini, P., Hammond, C. J., Hofman, A., Jaddoe, V. W. V., Kleber, M., Kooner, J. S., Perola, M., Relton, C., Ring, S. M., Rivadeneira, F., Salomaa, V., Spector, T. D., Stegle, O., Toniolo, D., Uitterlinden, A. G., Barroso, I., Greenwood, C. M. T., Perry, J. R. B., Walker, B. R., Butterworth, A. S., Xue, Y., Durbin, R., Small, K. S., Soranzo, N., Timpson, N. J., & Zeggini, E. (2017). Whole-Genome Sequencing coupled to imputation discovers genetic signals for anthropometric traits. The American Journal of Human Genetics, 100(6), 865-884. doi:10.1016/j.ajhg.2017.04.014.

    Abstract

    Deep sequence-based imputation can enhance the discovery power of genome-wide association studies by assessing previously unexplored variation across the common- and low-frequency spectra. We applied a hybrid whole-genome sequencing (WGS) and deep imputation approach to examine the broader allelic architecture of 12 anthropometric traits associated with height, body mass, and fat distribution in up to 267,616 individuals. We report 106 genome-wide significant signals that have not been previously identified, including 9 low-frequency variants pointing to functional candidates. Of the 106 signals, 6 are in genomic regions that have not been implicated with related traits before, 28 are independent signals at previously reported regions, and 72 represent previously reported signals for a different anthropometric trait. 71% of signals reside within genes and fine mapping resolves 23 signals to one or two likely causal variants. We confirm genetic overlap between human monogenic and polygenic anthropometric traits and find signal enrichment in cis expression QTLs in relevant tissues. Our results highlight the potential of WGS strategies to enhance biologically relevant discoveries across the frequency spectrum.
  • Thompson, P. M., Andreassen, O. A., Arias-Vasquez, A., Bearden, C. E., Boedhoe, P. S., Brouwer, R. M., Buckner, R. L., Buitelaar, J. K., Bulaeva, K. B., Cannon, D. M., Cohen, R. A., Conrod, P. J., Dale, A. M., Deary, I. J., Dennis, E. L., De Reus, M. A., Desrivieres, S., Dima, D., Donohoe, G., Fisher, S. E., Fouche, J.-P., Francks, C., Frangou, S., Franke, B., Ganjgahi, H., Garavan, H., Glahn, D. C., Grabe, H. J., Guadalupe, T., Gutman, B. A., Hashimoto, R., Hibar, D. P., Holland, D., Hoogman, M., Pol, H. E. H., Hosten, N., Jahanshad, N., Kelly, S., Kochunov, P., Kremen, W. S., Lee, P. H., Mackey, S., Martin, N. G., Mazoyer, B., McDonald, C., Medland, S. E., Morey, R. A., Nichols, T. E., Paus, T., Pausova, Z., Schmaal, L., Schumann, G., Shen, L., Sisodiya, S. M., Smit, D. J., Smoller, J. W., Stein, D. J., Stein, J. L., Toro, R., Turner, J. A., Van den Heuvel, M., Van den Heuvel, O. A., Van Erp, T. G., Van Rooij, D., Veltman, D. J., Walter, H., Wang, Y., Wardlaw, J. M., Whelan, C. D., Wright, M. J., & Ye, J. (2017). ENIGMA and the Individual: Predicting Factors that Affect the Brain in 35 Countries Worldwide. NeuroImage, 145, 389-408. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.11.057.
  • Thompson, J. R., Minelli, C., Bowden, J., Del Greco, F. M., Gill, D., Jones, E. M., Shapland, C. Y., & Sheehan, N. A. (2017). Mendelian randomization incorporating uncertainty about pleiotropy. Statistics in Medicine, 36(29), 4627-4645. doi:10.1002/sim.7442.

    Abstract

    Mendelian randomization (MR) requires strong assumptions about the genetic instruments, of which the most difficult to justify relate to pleiotropy. In a two-sample MR, different methods of analysis are available if we are able to assume, M1: no pleiotropy (fixed effects meta-analysis), M2: that there may be pleiotropy but that the average pleiotropic effect is zero (random effects meta-analysis), and M3: that the average pleiotropic effect is nonzero (MR-Egger). In the latter 2 cases, we also require that the size of the pleiotropy is independent of the size of the effect on the exposure. Selecting one of these models without good reason would run the risk of misrepresenting the evidence for causality. The most conservative strategy would be to use M3 in all analyses as this makes the weakest assumptions, but such an analysis gives much less precise estimates and so should be avoided whenever stronger assumptions are credible. We consider the situation of a two-sample design when we are unsure which of these 3 pleiotropy models is appropriate. The analysis is placed within a Bayesian framework and Bayesian model averaging is used. We demonstrate that even large samples of the scale used in genome-wide meta-analysis may be insufficient to distinguish the pleiotropy models based on the data alone. Our simulations show that Bayesian model averaging provides a reasonable trade-off between bias and precision. Bayesian model averaging is recommended whenever there is uncertainty about the nature of the pleiotropy

    Supplementary material

    sim7442-sup-0001-Supplementary.pdf
  • Udden, J., Snijders, T. M., Fisher, S. E., & Hagoort, P. (2017). A common variant of the CNTNAP2 gene is associated with structural variation in the left superior occipital gyrus. Brain and Language, 172, 16-21. doi:10.1016/j.bandl.2016.02.003.

    Abstract

    The CNTNAP2 gene encodes a cell-adhesion molecule that influences the properties of neural networks and the morphology and density of neurons and glial cells. Previous studies have shown association of CNTNAP2 variants with language-related phenotypes in health and disease. Here, we report associations of a common CNTNAP2 polymorphism (rs7794745) with variation in grey matter in a region in the dorsal visual stream. We tried to replicate an earlier study on 314 subjects by Tan and colleagues (2010), but now in a substantially larger group of more than 1700 subjects. Carriers of the T allele showed reduced grey matter volume in left superior occipital gyrus, while we did not replicate associations with grey matter volume in other regions identified by Tan et al (2010). Our work illustrates the importance of independent replication in neuroimaging genetic studies of language-related candidate genes.
  • Wegman, J., Tyborowska, A., Hoogman, M., Vasquez, A. A., & Janzen, G. (2017). The brain-derived neurotrophic factor Val66Met polymorphism affects encoding of object locations during active navigation. European Journal of Neuroscience, 45(12), 1501-1511. doi:10.1111/ejn.13416.

    Abstract

    The brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) was shown to be involved in spatial memory and spatial strategy preference. A naturally occurring single nucleotide polymorphism of the BDNF gene (Val66Met) affects activity-dependent secretion of BDNF. The current event-related fMRI study on preselected groups of ‘Met’ carriers and homozygotes of the ‘Val’ allele investigated the role of this polymorphism on encoding and retrieval in a virtual navigation task in 37 healthy volunteers. In each trial, participants navigated toward a target object. During encoding, three positional cues (columns) with directional cues (shadows) were available. During retrieval, the invisible target had to be replaced while either two objects without shadows (objects trial) or one object with a shadow (shadow trial) were available. The experiment consisted of blocks, informing participants of which trial type would be most likely to occur during retrieval. We observed no differences between genetic groups in task performance or time to complete the navigation tasks. The imaging results show that Met carriers compared to Val homozygotes activate the left hippocampus more during successful object location memory encoding. The observed effects were independent of non-significant performance differences or volumetric differences in the hippocampus. These results indicate that variations of the BDNF gene affect memory encoding during spatial navigation, suggesting that lower levels of BDNF in the hippocampus results in less efficient spatial memory processing
  • De Zubicaray, G., & Fisher, S. E. (Eds.). (2017). Genes, brain and language [Special Issue]. Brain and Language, 172.
  • De Zubicaray, G., & Fisher, S. E. (2017). Genes, Brain, and Language: A brief introduction to the Special Issue. Brain and Language, 172, 1-2. doi:10.1016/j.bandl.2017.08.003.
  • Adams, H. H. H., Hibar, D. P., Chouraki, V., Stein, J. L., Nyquist, P., Renteria, M. E., Trompet, S., Arias-Vasquez, A., Seshadri, S., Desrivières, S., Beecham, A. H., Jahanshad, N., Wittfeld, K., Van der Lee, S. J., Abramovic, L., Alhusaini, S., Amin, N., Andersson, M., Arfanakis, K. A., Aribisala, B. S., Armstrong, N. J., Athanasiu, L., Axelsson, T., Beiser, A., Bernard, M., Bis, J. C., Blanken, L. M. E., Blanton, S. H., Bohlken, M. M., Boks, M. P., Bralten, J., Brickman, A. M., Carmichael, O., Chakravarty, M. M., Chauhan, G., Chen, Q., Ching, C. R. K., Cuellar-Partida, G., Den Braber, A., Doan, N. T., Ehrlich, S., Filippi, I., Ge, T., Giddaluru, S., Goldman, A. L., Gottesman, R. F., Greven, C. U., Grimm, O., Griswold, M. E., Guadalupe, T., Hass, J., Haukvik, U. K., Hilal, S., Hofer, E., Höhn, D., Holmes, A. J., Hoogman, M., Janowitz, D., Jia, T., Karbalai, N., Kasperaviciute, D., Kim, S., Klein, M., Krämer, B., Lee–, P. H., Liao, J., Liewald, D. C. M., Lopez, L. M., Luciano, M., Macare, C., Marquand, A., Matarin, M., Mather, K. A., Mattheisen, M., Mazoyer, B., McKay, D. R., McWhirter, R., Milaneschi, Y., Muetzel, R. L., Muñoz Maniega, S., Nho, K., Nugent, A. C., Olde Loohuis, L. M., Oosterlaan, J., Papmeyer, M., Pappa, I., Pirpamer, L., Pudas, S., Pütz, B., Rajan, K. B., Ramasamy, A., Richards, J. S., Risacher, S. L., Roiz-Santiañez, R., Rommelse, N., Rose, E. J., Royle, N. A., Rundek, T., Sämann, P. G., Satizabal, C. L., Schmaal, L., Schork, A. J., Shen, L., Shin, J., Shumskaya, E., Smith, A. V., Sprooten, E., Strike, L. T., Teumer, A., Thomson, R., Tordesillas-Gutierrez, D., Toro, R., Trabzuni, D., Vaidya, D., Van der Grond, J., Van der Meer, D., Van Donkelaar, M. M. J., Van Eijk, K. R., VanErp, T. G. M., Van Rooij, D., Walton, E., Westlye, L. T., Whelan, C. D., Windham, B. G., Winkler, A. M., Woldehawariat, G., Wolf, C., Wolfers, T., Xu, B., Yanek, L. R., Yang, J., Zijdenbos, A., Zwiers, M. P., Agartz, I., Aggarwal, N. T., Almasy, L., Ames, D., Amouyel, P., Andreassen, O. A., Arepalli, S., Assareh, A. A., Barral, S., Bastin, M. E., Becker, J. T., Becker, D. M., Bennett, D. A., Blangero, J., Van Bokhoven, H., Boomsma, D. I., Brodaty, H., Brouwer, R. M., Brunner, H. G., Buckner, R. L., Buitelaar, J. K., Bulayeva, K. B., Cahn, W., Calhoun, V. D., Cannon, D. M., Cavalleri, G. L., Chen, C., Cheng, C.-Y., Cichon, S., Cookson, M. R., Corvin, A., Crespo-Facorro, B., Curran, J. E., Czisch, M., Dale, A. M., Davies, G. E., De Geus, E. J. C., De Jager, P. L., De Zubicaray, G. I., Delanty, N., Depondt, C., DeStefano, A., Dillman, A., Djurovic, S., Donohoe, G., Drevets, W. C., Duggirala, R., Dyer, T. D., Erk, S., Espeseth, T., Evans, D. A., Fedko, I. O., Fernández, G., Ferrucci, L., Fisher, S. E., Fleischman, D. A., Ford, I., Foroud, T. M., Fox, P. T., Francks, C., Fukunaga, M., Gibbs, J. R., Glahn, D. C., Gollub, R. L., Göring, H. H. H., Grabe, H. J., Green, R. C., Gruber, O., Guelfi, S., Hansell, N. 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J., DeCarli, C., Schmidt, H., Martin, N. G., De Craen, A. J. M., Wright, M. J., Gudnason, V., Schumann, G., Fornage, M., Franke, B., Debette, S., Medland, S. E., Ikram, M. A., & Thompson, P. M. (2016). Novel genetic loci underlying human intracranial volume identified through genome-wide association. Nature Neuroscience, 19, 1569-1582. doi:10.1038/nn.4398.

    Abstract

    Intracranial volume reflects the maximally attained brain size during development, and remains stable with loss of tissue in late life. It is highly heritable, but the underlying genes remain largely undetermined. In a genome-wide association study of 32,438 adults, we discovered five previously unknown loci for intracranial volume and confirmed two known signals. Four of the loci were also associated with adult human stature, but these remained associated with intracranial volume after adjusting for height. We found a high genetic correlation with child head circumference (genetic = 0.748), which indicates a similar genetic background and allowed us to identify four additional loci through meta-analysis (Ncombined = 37,345). Variants for intracranial volume were also related to childhood and adult cognitive function, and Parkinson’s disease, and were enriched near genes involved in growth pathways, including PI3K-AKT signaling. These findings identify the biological underpinnings of intracranial volume and provide genetic support for theories on brain reserve and brain overgrowth.

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