The notes below show the subtopics that are covered within each lecture.
- Why study cognitive and behavioral genetics?
- Some major techniques and discoveries of behavioral genetics.
- Nature and nurture.
- Social and ethical concomitants of cognitive and behavioral genetics: eugenics, social Darwisinism, race, sex.
Gene Structure / Function
- Gene exon/intron structure. Allelic variation.
- Basal transcription. Cis and trans regulatory elements.
- mRNA structure. The genetic code. Coding/non coding regions. Translational control.
- Point mutations, small and large-scale deletions, chromosomal abnormalities.
Single Gene Mutations
- How can a single gene mutation lead to a complex psychiatric phenotype?
- Animal models 1: the GABAa receptor and enhanced anxiety and bias for threat cues.
- Animal models 2: proline deyhdrogenase and sensorimotor gating (relevance to attention deficits in multiple psychiatric disorders).
- Mendelian genetics in the setting of neuropsychiatry.
- How can molecular genetics be used to find the gene responsible for a human disorder inherited in a simple Mendelian pattern and to provide an explanation for the patterns of pathology which are observed: Huntington's Disease, a single gene autosomal dominant mutation.
Environmental and Genetic Context
- Genomic environment.
- Cellular and local environment.
- Body + brain, hormones, (estrogen).
- External environment. Activity-dependent wiring and gene expression.
- Genetic, neurobiological, cognitive, linguistic, and social dimensions of Williams Syndrome.
Genetics of Language
- Heritability of normal variation and pathologies of language.
- Specific Language Impairment.
- Developmental language delay.
Challenge of Defining Phenotype
- Schizophrenia, manic depressive illness, alcoholism.
- Diagnostic issues.