Imaging genetics and development: challenges and promises

Casey, BJ; Soliman, F; Bath, KG; Glatt, CE
Hum Brain Mapp.. 2010; 31(6):838-51.


Excitement with the publication of the human genome has served as catalyst for scientists to uncover the functions of specific genes. The main avenues for understanding gene function have been in behavioral genetics on one end and on the other end, molecular mouse models. Attempts to bridge these approaches have used brain imaging to conveniently link anatomical abnormalities seen in knockout/transgenic mouse models and abnormal patterns of brain activity seen in humans. Although a convenient approach, this article provides examples of challenges for imaging genetics, its application to developmental questions, and promises for future directions. Attempts to link genes, brain, and behavior using behavioral genetics, imaging genetics, and mouse models of behavior are described. Each of these approaches alone, provide limited information on gene function in complex human behavior, but together, they are forming bridges between animal models and human psychiatric disorders.