Studies of genetic influence on social behavior
Numerous studies in animals as well as humans have shown that oxytocin plays a part in the regulation/modulation of social behavior. This has been demonstrated not only in pharmacological studies, but also through genetic knock-out models in for instance rodents, as well as the study of genetic variation in humans. However, as yet the exact function or relative importance of oxytocin in modulating social behavior in humans remains obscure. Our interest is to study the role of genetic variation in social behavior. Our outcome variables are: 1) Autistic-like traits, particularly social impairment, in a population of around 12000 twins (the Child and Adolescent Twin Study in Sweden, or CATSS). 2) Eye-tracking measurements, utilized as endophenotypes for social behavior, in a smaller subset of the CATSS population (n=400-500). We will thus be using genotypic data already present courtesy of the Twin Registry, as well as phenotypic data from the CATSS population, where the eye-tracking data will be added by us (through Patrik Magnusson) as it becomes available. Our project is two-fold: 1) Performing full GWAS analyses on the available genetic data (550000 markers) on phenotypes available to us (primarily the eye-tracking data). 2) Performing pathway analyses on markers pertaining to the oxytocin pathway (primarily in the full CATSS sample).