Genetics of social impulsivity and social anxiety in the UCLA-VA vervet monkey research colony

J. Bailey, T. Newman, J. Rodgers, A. G. Comuzzie, L. J. Martin, M. J. Jorgensen, L. A. Fairbanks

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The UCLA-VA Vervet Monkey Research Colony (VMRC) is a resource to study the genetics of normal variation in phenotypes relevant to psychiatry. The VMRC contains over 500 vervets (Chlorocebus aethiops) in an extended six-generation pedigree. Colony members live in groups that mimic species-typical social conditions, thus making the VMRC one of the few places where large numbers of normally-reared nonhuman primates can be phenotyped on a variety of traits at different life stages. Standardized assessment methods are used to measure variation in temperament, personality and associated hormonal and neurochemical profiles. One of these methods, the Intruder Challenge Test, elicits stable, reliable and validated individual differences in social impulsivity and social anxiety. Estimates of heritability using variance covariance models on a sample of 352 adult animals indicate that there is a strong genetic component to both social impulsivity (h2 = 0.41, P = 0.00008) and social anxiety (h2 = 0.37, P = 0.00007), with a significant maternal effect on social impulsivity (m2 = 0.12, P = 0.034). Concentration of the serotonin metabolite, 5-HIAA, in CSF is associated with social impulsivity and is also heritable. These significant heritabilities are encouraging for the detection of genes.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Number of pages1
    JournalAmerican Journal of Medical Genetics - Neuropsychiatric Genetics
    Issue number7
    StatePublished - Oct 8 2001

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Genetics(clinical)
    • Psychiatry and Mental health
    • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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