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Genomic imprinting and the social brain

Isles, Anthony Roger ORCID:, Davies, William ORCID: and Wilkinson, Lawrence Stephen ORCID: 2006. Genomic imprinting and the social brain. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series B - Biological Sciences 361 (1476) , pp. 2229-2237. 10.1098/rstb.2006.1942

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Genomic imprinting refers to the parent-of-origin-specific epigenetic marking of a number of genes. This epigenetic mark leads to a bias in expression between maternally and paternally inherited imprinted genes, that in some cases results in monoallelic expression from one parental allele. Genomic imprinting is often thought to have evolved as a consequence of the intragenomic conflict between the parental alleles that occurs whenever there is an asymmetry of relatedness. The two main examples of asymmetry of relatedness are when there is partiality of parental investment in offspring (as is the case for placental mammals, where there is also the possibility of extended postnatal care by one parent), and in social groups where there is a sex-biased dispersal. From this evolutionary starting point, it is predicted that, at the behavioural level, imprinted genes will influence what can broadly be termed bonding and social behaviour. We examine the animal and human literature for examples of imprinted genes mediating these behaviours, and divide them into two general classes. Firstly, mother–offspring interactions (suckling, attachment and maternal behaviours) that are predicted to occur when partiality in parental investment in early postnatal offspring occurs; and secondly, adult social interactions, when there is an asymmetry of relatedness in social groups. Finally, we return to the evolutionary theory and examine whether there is a pattern of behavioural functions mediated by imprinted genes emerging from the limited data, and also whether any tangible predictions can be made with regards to the direction of action of genes of maternal or paternal origin.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (CNGG)
Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI)
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Uncontrolled Keywords: imprinted genes; evolution; behaviour; cognition; X-chromosome
Publisher: Royal Society
ISSN: 0962-8436
Last Modified: 28 Sep 2023 12:28

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