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).