The role of inheritance in behavior

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  13 Apr 1990:
Vol. 248, Issue 4952, pp. 183-188
DOI: 10.1126/science.2183351


Inheritance plays a major role in behavior as shown by selection and strain studies for animal behavior and by twin and adoption studies for human behavior. Unlike simple Mendelian characteristics, genetic variance for behavioral dimensions and disorders rarely accounts for more than half of the phenotypic variance, and multiple genes with small effects appear to be involved rather than one or two major genes. Genetic research on behavior will be transformed by techniques of molecular biology that can be used to identify DNA sequences responsible for behavioral variation. However, the importance of nongenetic factors and the multigenetic control of behavior require new strategies to detect DNA markers that account for small amounts of behavioral variation.

Stay Connected to Science