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Quantitative genetic studies of antisocial behaviour

By Essi Viding, Henrik Larsson and Alice P. Jones


This paper will broadly review the currently available twin and adoption data on antisocial behaviour (AB). It is argued that quantitative genetic research can make a significant contribution to further the understanding of how AB develops. Genetically informative study designs are particularly useful for investigating several important questions such as whether: the heritability estimates vary as a function of assessment method or gender; the relative importance of genetic and environmental influences varies for different types of AB; the environmental risk factors are truly environmental; and genetic vulnerability influences susceptibility to environmental risk. While the current data are not yet directly translatable for prevention and treatment programmes, quantitative genetic research has concrete translational potential. Quantitative genetic research can supplement neuroscience research in informing about different subtypes of AB, such as AB coupled with callous–unemotional traits. Quantitative genetic research is also important in advancing the understanding of the mechanisms by which environmental risk operates

Publisher: The Royal Society
Year: 2008
DOI identifier: 10.1098/rstb.2008.0037
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