Human language is one of the most distinct and fascinating features of humankind. As a system of communication, language supports peer contact and interaction but also cognitive development, learning and knowledge transfer. Our group aims to decipher the aetiological mechanisms shaping developing language and social skills during infancy to adolescence, as captured by common genetic variation. Utilising this knowledge, we seek to identify and characterise the trajectories that lead from early childhood language and social skills to later-life health, educational and social outcomes.
We have developed multivariate genetic-relationship-matrix structural equation modelling (GRMSEM) techniques in samples of unrelated individuals. For this, we combined whole-genome genotyping information with structural equation modelling techniques, analogous to twin research methodologies. The code is implemented within the R GRMSEM (links to these tools:CRAN, GRMSEM)