Gene‐to‐behavior Pathways


The ‘gene‐to‐behavior' pathway is a concept meant to counter overly deterministic ways of thinking about the effects of genes on behavior. Gene‐to‐behavior pathways incorporate mechanisms of gene action, endophenotypes and variable behavioral expression, as well as notions of the complexity of biological systems.

Keywords: endophenotype; probabilistic epigenesis; multigene disorders; quantitative trait loci; dynamic systems

Figure 1.

The genes‐to‐behavior pathway for intelligence. Quantitative trait loci (QTLs; hypothetical relevant genes) are depicted at the bottom, and the large tubes represent endophenotypes. (Reproduced from Gottesman II (1997) Twins: en route to QTLs for cognition. Science 276(5318): 1522–1523.)



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Further Reading

Emde RN and Hewitt JK (eds) (2001) The Transition from Infancy to Early Childhood: Genetic and Environmental Influences in the MacArthur Longitudinal Twin Study. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

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Goldsmith HH and Gottesman II (1995) Heritable variability and variable heritability in developmental psychopathology. In: Lenzenweger MF, Haugaard J (eds) Frontiers in Psychopathology. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Gottesman II (1997) Twins: en route to QTLs for cognition. Science 276: 1522–1523.

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Wahlsten D (1999) Single‐gene influences on brain and behavior. Annual Review of Psychology 50: 599–624.

Web Links Fragile X mental retardation 1 (FMR1); LocusID: 2332. LocusLink:‐post/Omim/dispmim?309550

Fragile X mental retardation 1 (FMR1); MIM number: 309550. OMIM:

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Goldsmith, H Hill(Jul 2006) Gene‐to‐behavior Pathways. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0005232]