Association between the Serotonin Receptor 1B Gene (HTR1B) and Childhood Aggression Open Access

Miu, Adriana Sum (2013)

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Research has demonstrated that childhood aggression is highly heritable, but molecular genetic studies have not been successful in identifying susceptibility genes for aggression. These inconsistent findings may be due at least in part to grouping heterogeneous forms of aggression together, rather than examining reactive and proactive aggression separately. Given that reactive and proactive forms of aggression have both shared and unique behavioral and physiological characteristics, the two forms may also differ genetically. Further, some theoretically plausible candidate genes, such as serotonin receptor 1B gene (HTR1B), have not been well examined in the extant literature on childhood aggression. The present study investigated the relations between HTR1B and aggression in general, as well as reactive and proactive aggression specifically. In a sample of 514 children, we examined these relations using a gene-based association test to capture full genetic variation across HTR1B. We found significant associations between HTR1B and total, reactive, and proactive aggression, which provide support for the influence of HTR1B on both forms of childhood aggression. The current study also illustrated the importance of using a more comprehensive gene-based approach to examine the genetic influence on aggression. Further research is needed to independently replicate these findings and to elucidate the underlying neurobiological mechanisms accounting for HTR1B's effects on reactive and proactive aggression.

Table of Contents

I. Introduction 1

II. Method 16

III. Results 20

IV. Discussion 23

V. References 33

VI. Appendix 41

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