Population Genetics of Human Communication

Population Genetics of Human Communication research group

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 understanding of the genetic mechanisms behind this complex phenotype is, however, still poor. Our group aims to decipher the genetic basis of language and communication in typically developing children using modern genetic epidemiological analysis techniques.

This research group is part of the Language and Genetics Department

Contact

Beate St Pourcain

Senior Investigator
Language and Genetics Department
+31 24 3521964

Presentations

2019

Eising, E., St Pourcain, B., Francks, C., Fisher, S. E., & the Quantitative Trait Working Group of the GenLang consortium (2019). A genome-wide association screen of quantitative speech, language and reading traits in >18,000 people in the GenLang consortium. Poster presented at the Lorentz Center workshop Capturing Developmental Brain Dynamics, Leiden, The Netherlands.

St Pourcain, B. (2019). Advantages of large international consortia on child development: The EArly Genetics and Lifecourse Epidemiology (EAGLE) Consortium. Talk presented at the 18th International Congress of the European Society for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Vienna, Austria. 2019-06-30 - 2019-07-02.

St Pourcain, B. (2019). New approaches to understand genetic and residual relatedness among complex phenotypes. Talk presented at the Academy Colloquium Deciphering the biology of human musicality through state-of-the-art genomics 2019. Amsterdam, The Netherlands. 2019-06-20 - 2019-06-22.

St Pourcain, B., Grove, J., Shapland, C. Y., Demontis, D., Burgess, S., Rai, D., Børglum, A. D., & Verhoef, E. (2019). Shared polygenetic variation between ASD and ADHD exerts opposite association patterns with educational attainment. Talk presented at the Behaviour Genetics Association Meeting 2019. Stockholm, Sweden. 2019-06-26 - 2019-06-29.

Verhoef, E., Dale, P. S., Fisher, S. E., Shapland, C. Y., & St Pourcain, B. (2019). Modelling stability and change in the genetic architecture of language and literacy development. Talk presented at the 49th Annual Meeting of the Behavior Genetics Association. Stockholm, Sweden. 2019-06-26 - 2019-06-29

 

2018

Eising, E., St Pourcain, B., Francks, C., Fisher, S. E., & the Quantitative Trait Working Group of the GenLang consortium (2018). A genome-wide association screen of quantitative speech, language and reading traits in >14,000 people in the GenLang consortium. Poster presented at the World Congress in Psychiatric Genetics 2018. Glasgow, UK. 2018-10-11 - 2018-10-15.

Schlag, F., Buitelaar, J., Grove, J., Verhoef, E., Shapland, C. Y., Demontis, D., iPSYCH-Broad-PGC ASD Consortium, Davey Smith, D., Rai, D., Fisher, S. E., Børglum, A. D., & St Pourcain, B. (2018). Exploring the developmental genetic architecture of social behaviour: Evidence for genetic overlap with ASD and ADHD. Talk presented at the World Congress in Psychiatric Genetics 2018. Glasgow, UK. 2018-10-11 - 2018-10-15.

Shapland, C. Y., Haworth, C., Hayward, C., Tachmazidou, I., Felix, J., Wang, C., Ahluwalia, T. S., Sunyer, J., Fernandez, D., Timpson, N., Fisher, S. E., CHARGE Consortium, ENIGMA Consortium, Bisgaard, H., UK10K Consortium, Cole, T. J., Iotchkova, V., Min, J. L., Davey Smith, G., Wilson, J. F., Timmers, P., Jackson, A., Walter, K., Martinez, D., Bønnelykke, K., Pennell, C. E., Jaddoe, V., Dedoussis, G., Zeggini, E., Vitart, V., & St Pourcain, B. (2018). Low frequency genetic variation in TP53 is associated with final head circumference. Talk presented at the MPI Proudly Presents series. Nijmegen, The Netherlands. 2018-06-20.

St Pourcain, B. (2018). Distinct developmental profiles in genetic overlap between psychiatric disorder and population-based social communication difficulties. Talk presented at the Special Lecture Series of the University of Edinburgh. Edinburgh, UK. 2018-09-19.

St Pourcain, B., Vitart, V., Zeggini, E., Dedoussis, G., Jaddoe, V., Pennell, C. E., Bønnelykke, K., Martinez, D., Walter, K., Shapland, C. Y., Jackson, A., Timmers, P., Wilson, J. F., Hayward, C., Davey Smith, G., Min, J. L., Iotchkova, V., Cole, T. J., UK10K Consortium, Bisgaard, H., ENIGMA Consortium, CHARGE Consortium, Fisher, S. E., Timpson, N., Fernandez, D., Sunyer, J., Ahluwalia, T. S., Wang, C., Felix, J., Tachmazidou, I., & Haworth, S. (2018). Low frequency genetic variation in TP53 is associated with final head circumference. Talk presented at the Behaviour Genetics Association meeting 2018. Cambridge, MA, USA. 2018-06-20 - 2018-06-23.

Verhoef, E., Grove, J., Shapland, C. Y., Demontis, D., Burgess, S., iPSYCH-Broad-PGC ASD Consortium, Davey Smith, G., Rai, D., Fisher, S. E., Børglum, A. D., & St Pourcain, B. (2018). Opposite genetic effects for polygenic ASD risk shared with and independent of ADHD: Evidence for a cancelling-out hypothesis studying genetic overlap with language and literacy. Talk presented at the World Congress of Psychiatric Genetics 2018. Glasgow. 2018-10-11 - 2018-11-15.

Verhoef, E., Shapland, C. Y., Dale, P. S., Fisher, S. E., & St Pourcain, B. (2018). Understanding the genetic architecture of language- and literacy-related abilities during mid-childhood and adolescence: Evidence for genetically shared factors with early vocabulary. Poster presented at the Behaviour Genetics Association meeting 2018. Cambridge, MA, USA. 2018-06-20 - 2018-06-23.

 

2017

Haworth, S., Shapland, C. Y., Hayward, C., Tachmazidou, I., Felix, J., Wang, C., Ahluwalia, T. S., Sunyer, J., Fernandez, D., Timpson, N., Fisher, S. E., CHARGE Consortium, ENIGMA Consortium, Bisgaard, H., UK10K Consortium, Cole, T. J., Iotchkova, V., Min, J. L., Davey Smith, G., Wilson, J. F., Timmers, P., Jackson, A., Walter, K., Martinez, D., Bønnelykke, K., Pennell, C. E., Jaddoe, V., Dedoussis, G., Zeggini, E., Vitart, V., & St Pourcain, B. (2017). Low frequency genetic variation in TP53 is associated with final head circumference. Talk presented at the Cognomics conference 2017. Nijmegen, The Netherlands. 2017-09-07 - 2017-09-08.

St Pourcain, B., Eaves, J. L., Ring, S. M., Fisher, S. E., Medland, S., Evans, D. M., & Davey Smith, G. (2017). Modelling changes in genetic variances during development - The re-birth of twin modelling strategies in the GWAS era. Talk presented at Mendelian Randomization Conference. Bristol, UK. 2017-07-11 - 2017-07-13.

St Pourcain, B., Eaves, L. J., Verhoef, E., Shapland, C. Y., Ring, S. M., Fisher, S. E., Medland, S., Evans, D. M., & Davey Smith, G. (2017). Genes within the context of development: Changes in genetic trait architectures during childhood and adolescence. Talk presented at the World Congress in Psychiatric Genetics 2017. Orlando, FL, USA. 2017-10-13 - 2017-10-17.

St Pourcain, B., Vitart, V., Zeggini, E., Dedoussis, G., Jaddoe, V., Pennell, C. E., Bønnelykke, K., Martinez, D., Tachmazidou, I., Walter, K., Shapland, C. Y., Jackson, A., Cleal, H., Huffmann, J., Davey Smith, G., Min, J. L., Iotchkova, V., UK10K Consortium, Bisgaard, H., ENIGMA Consortium, CHARGE Consortium, Fisher, S. E., Timpson, N., Fernandez, D., Sunyer, J., Ahluwalia, T. S., Wang, C., Felix, J., Prins, B., Hayward, C., Shapland, C. Y., & Haworth, S. (2017). Low frequency genetic variation in TP53 is associated with final head circumference. Poster presented at the American Society for Human Genetics meeting 2017, Orlando, FL, USA

Verhoef, E., Demontis, D., Burgess, S., Shapland, C. Y., Neale, B. M., Faraone, S. V., Viechtbauer, W., PGC-iPSYCH consortium, Stergiakouli, E., Davey Smith, G., Fisher, S. E., Børglum, A. D., & St Pourcain, B. (2017). Polygenic risk for ADHD is associated with reading- and spelling related traits beyond pleiotropic effects due to educational attainment. Talk presented at World Congress of Psychiatric Genetics 2017. Orlando. 2017-10-13 - 2017-10-17.

Verhoef, E., Demontis, D., Shapland, C. Y., Neale, B. M., Faraone, S. V., Viechtbauer, W., Stergiakouli, E., Davey Smith, G., Fisher, S. E., PGC-iPSYCH consortium, Børglum, A. D., & St Pourcain, B. (2017). Polygenic risk for ADHD is associated with reading- and spelling-related traits. Talk presented at COGNOMICS conference 2017. Nijmegen, The Netherlands. 2017-09-07 - 2017-09-08.

Verhoef, E., Shapland, C. Y., Fisher, S. E., & St Pourcain, B. (2017). The genetic architecture of early vocabulary (15-38 months). Talk presented at Many Paths to Language. Nijmegen, The Netherlands. 2017-10-06 - 2017-10-08.

 

2016

St Pourcain, B. (2016). The genetic continuity of psychiatric symptoms in the general population: dimensional views of ASD, ADHD and schizophrenia. Talk presented at the Department of Biological Psychology. Vrije Universiteit. Amsterdam, The Netherlands. 2016-04-05.

St Pourcain, B. (2016). The genetic continuity of Autism Spectrum Disorders and other psychiatric illness with related traits in the general population. Talk presented at the Radboud Research Round. Nijmegen, The Netherlands. 2016-02-18.

St Pourcain, B., Eaves, L. J., Evans, D. M., Fisher, S. E., Carey, G., & Smith, G. D. (2016). Trait-specific patterns of common genetic factors influence social communication difficulties and ADHD symptoms during development. Talk presented at the Behaviour Genetics Association Annual Meeting 2016. Brisbane, Australia. 2016-06-20 - 2016-06-23.

St Pourcain, B., Eaves, L. J., Ring, S. M., Fisher, S. E., Medland, S., Evans, D. M., Carey, G., & Smith, G. D. (2016). Developmental changes within the genetic architecture of social communication behaviour: A multivariate study of genetic variance in unrelated individuals. Poster presented at the World Congress in Psychiatric Genetics 2016, Jerusalem, Israel

Verhoef, E., Fisher, S. E., Stergiakouli, E., Evans, D., Ring, S., Smith, G. D., & St Pourcain, B. (2016). Common polygenic risk for ASD and ADHD is associated with childhood linguistic traits within the general population, but with opposite effects. Talk presented at the World Congress in Psychiatric Genetics 2016. Jerusalem, Israel. 2016-10-30 - 2016-11-03.

 

2015

Haworth, S., Felix, J., Prims, B., Blewitt, I., Tachmazidou, I., Medina-Gomez, C., Rivadeneira, F., Ring, S., Davey Smith, G., Evans, D., Timpson, N., Iotchkova, V., Ritchie, G., UK10, C., Dedoussis, G., Vincent Jaddoe, V. W. V., Zeggini, E., & St Pourcain, B. (2015). Analysis of common and less frequent genetic variation for head circumference: Next-generation genetic association studies within the UK10K COHORTS project. Poster presented at the 9th annual Genomics of Common Diseases, Cambridge, UK.

Middeldorp, C. M., Nivard, M., Gage, S., Hottenga, J.-J., van Beijsterveldt, T., Baselmans, B., Ligthart, L., St Pourcain, B., Munafo, M., & Boomsma, D. (2015). The Genetic Overlap Between Schizophrenia and Childhood Psychopathology. Poster presented at the XXIIIrd World Congress of Psychiatric Genetics, Toronto, Canada.

Robinson, E., St Pourcain, B., Anttila, V., Bulik-Sullivan, B., Kosmicki, J., Samocha, K., Maller, J., Skuse, D., Grove, J., Mortensen, P. B., Borglum, A., Neale, B., Ronald, A., Smith, G. D., & Daly, M. (2015). Genetic Risk for Autism Spectrum Disorders and Neuropsychiatric Variation in the General Population. Talk presented at the XXIIIrd World Congress of Psychiatric Genetics. Toronto, Canada. 2015-10-16 - 2015-10-20.

Stergiakouli, E., Martin, J., Hamshere, M., Heron, J., St Pourcain, B., Timpson, N., Thapar, A., & Smith, G. D. (2015). Polygenic Risk Scores for Clinical ADHD are Associated with Impaired Educational Achievement and Lower IQ in Children and Adults from the General Population. Poster presented at the XXIIIrd World Congress of Psychiatric Genetics, Toronto, Canada.

Stergiakouli, E., Martin, J., Hamshere, M., St Pourcain, B., Timpson, N., Thapar, A., & Smith, G. D. (2015). Shared Genetic Effects Between Clinical ADHD and Smoking, Alcohol and Breastfeeding in Mothers from the General Population. Talk presented at the XXIIIrd World Congress of Psychiatric Genetics. Toronto, Canada. 2015-10-16 - 2015-10-20.

St Pourcain, B., Martin, J., Stergiakouli, E., Robinson, E., Skuse, D., Susan, R., Ronald, A., Evans, D., Timpson, N., Thapar, A., & Smith, G. D. (2015). Genetic Links between Social-Communication Traits, ADHD Traits and Clinical ADHD During Development. Talk presented at the XXIIIrd World Congress of Psychiatric Genetics. Toronto, Canada. 2015-10-16 - 2015-10-20.

St Pourcain, B., Robinson, E., Bulik-Sullivan, B., Anttila, V., Maller, J., Skuse, D., Ring, S., Evans, D., Timpson, N., Ronald, A., Grove, J., Borglum, A., Mortensen, P. B., Daly, M., & Smith, G. D. (2015). Developmental Changes in Genetic Relationships Between Traits and Disease: Analyses of Genetic Overlaps Between Social-communication Difficulties, Autism Spectrum Disorders and Schizophrenia. Poster presented at the XXIIIrd World Congress of Psychiatric Genetics, Toronto, Canada.

Tools

Genetic-relationship-matrix structural equation models

We have developed multivariate genetic-relationship-matrix structural equation modelling (GSEM) 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 GSEM package and includes functions to fit "Cholesky decomposition", "Independent Pathway", and "Common Pathway" models.

 

News
  •  Beate St Pourcain Population Genetics of Human Communication Group
    13 September 2018

    SFARI Pilot Award

    Dr. Beate St Pourcain, group leader at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, has been granted a SFARI Pilot Award for her project ‘Disentangling autism heterogeneity through multivariate...

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