Anatomic brain asymmetry in vervet monkeys

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Abstract

Asymmetry is a prominent feature of human brains with important functional consequences. Many asymmetric traits show population bias, but little is known about the genetic and environmental sources contributing to inter-individual variance. Anatomic asymmetry has been observed in Old World monkeys, but the evidence for the direction and extent of asymmetry is equivocal and only one study has estimated the genetic contributions to inter-individual variance. In this study we characterize a range of qualitative and quantitative asymmetry measures in structural brain MRIs acquired from an extended pedigree of Old World vervet monkeys (n = 357), and implement variance component methods to estimate the proportion of trait variance attributable to genetic and environmental sources. Four of six asymmetry measures show pedigree-level bias and one of the traits has a significant heritability estimate of about 30%. We also found that environmental variables more significantly influence the width of the right compared to the left prefrontal lobe.

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Fears, S. C., Scheibel, K., Abaryan, Z., Lee, C., Service, S. K., Jorgensen, M. J., … Woods, R. P. (2011). Anatomic brain asymmetry in vervet monkeys. PLoS ONE, 6(12). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0028243

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