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Personality and local brain structure: their shared genetic basis and reproducibility.

By Sofie L. Valk, Felix Hoffstaedter, Julia A Camilleri, Peter Kochunov, B. T.T. Yeo, Simon B. Eickhoff

Posted 24 May 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/645945 (published DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2020.117067)

Local variation in cortical architecture is highly heritable and distinct genes are associated with specific cortical regions. Total surface area has been shown to be genetically correlated with complex cognitive capacities, suggesting cortical brain structure is a viable endophenotype linking genes to behavior. However, to what extend local brain structure has a genetic association with cognitive and emotional functioning is incompletely understood. Here, we study the genetic correlation between personality traits and local cortical structure in a large-scale twin sample (Human Connectome Project, n=1106, 22-37y). We found a genetic overlap between personality traits and local cortical structure in 10 of 17 observed phenotypic associations in predominantly frontal cortices. To evaluate the robustness of observed personality-brain associations we studied two independent age-matched samples (GSP: n=926, age=19-35y, eNKI: n=210, age: 19-39y). We observed anecdotal to moderate evidence for a successful replication of the negative association between surface area in medial prefrontal cortex and Neuroticism in both samples. Quantitative functional decoding indicated this region is implicated in emotional and socio-cognitive functional processes. In sum, our observations suggest that associations between local brain structure and personality are, in part, under genetic control. However, associations are weak and only the relation between frontal surface area and Neuroticism was consistently observed across three independent samples of young adults. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.

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