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Table of Contents
Vol. 72, No. 1, 2011
Issue release date: September 2011
Section title: Original Paper
Free Access
Hum Hered 2011;72:35–44

A Geographic Cline of Skull and Brain Morphology among Individuals of European Ancestry

Bakken T.E.a, c · Dale A.M.d, e · Schork N.J.a, b · for the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative
aThe Scripps Translational Science Institute, bDepartment of Molecular and Experimental Medicine, The Scripps Research Institute, and cNeurosciences Graduate Program and Departments of dNeurosciences and eRadiology, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, Calif., USA
email Corresponding Author

Nicholas J. Schork, PhD

The Scripps Research Institute

The Scripps Translational Science Institute

3344 North Torrey Pines Court, Suite 300, La Jolla, CA 92037 (USA)

Tel. +1 858 554 5705, E-Mail nschork@scripps.edu

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Background: Human skull and brain morphology are strongly influenced by genetic factors, and skull size and shape vary worldwide. However, the relationship between specific brain morphology and genetically-determined ancestry is largely unknown. Methods: We used two independent data sets to characterize variation in skull and brain morphology among individuals of European ancestry. The first data set is a historical sample of 1,170 male skulls with 37 shape measurements drawn from 27 European populations. The second data set includes 626 North American individuals of European ancestry participating in the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) with magnetic resonance imaging, height and weight, neurological diagnosis, and genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data. Results: We found that both skull and brain morphological variation exhibit a population-genetic fingerprint among individuals of European ancestry. This fingerprint shows a Northwest to Southeast gradient, is independent of body size, and involves frontotemporal cortical regions. Conclusion: Our findings are consistent with prior evidence for gene flow in Europe due to historical population movements and indicate that genetic background should be considered in studies seeking to identify genes involved in human cortical development and neuropsychiatric disease.

© 2011 S. Karger AG, Basel

Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Original Paper

Received: February 22, 2011
Accepted: June 17, 2011
Published online: August 17, 2011
Issue release date: September 2011

Number of Print Pages: 10
Number of Figures: 4
Number of Tables: 0

ISSN: 0001-5652 (Print)
eISSN: 1423-0062 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/HHE

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