This chapter reviews genetic studies that have aimed to identify genes influencing psychological traits in infancy (from birth to age 12 months), and considers how this research informs us about the causes of developmental psychopathology. Specifically, this chapter systematically reviews findings from studies that associated common genetic variants with individual variation in infants’ attention, temperament and behaviour, and attachment disorganisation. DRD4 and 5-HTTLPR genes were the most frequently studied candidate genes. Possibly the most coherent set of results relates to the L-DRD4 genotype, which is significantly associated with infant attention, temperament, and attachment style. Research in infant genetics has been strengthened by a careful focus on uniform age ranges within studies, by several longitudinal studies, and by exploration of gene-environment interactions between genes and maternal characteristics. However there is also considerable inconsistency in results in this field and possible reasons for this are discussed. The chapter outlines the main genetic methods that have been used and what new genetic approaches such as polygenic risk scoring could offer infant genetics. Recent findings suggest that some traits during infancy predict individual differences in developmental psychopathology in childhood. It is argued that infant genetic research has considerable potential for the identification of populations at risk for psychopathology in later life, and this remains an area open for future research.
|Title of host publication||The Handbook of Developmental Psychopathology|
|Publisher||WILEY-BLACKWELL PUBLISHING, INC|
|Publication status||Published - 17 Sep 2017|