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A Quantitative genetic analysis of caregiver-reported and observed fear, anger, and sadness in middle childhood

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The purpose of the current study was to use structural equation modeling-based quantitative genetic models to characterize latent genetic and environmental influences on proneness to three discrete negative emotions in middle childhood, according to mother-report, father-report and in-home observation. One

The purpose of the current study was to use structural equation modeling-based quantitative genetic models to characterize latent genetic and environmental influences on proneness to three discrete negative emotions in middle childhood, according to mother-report, father-report and in-home observation. One primary aim was to test the extent to which covariance among the three emotions could be accounted for by a single, common genetically- and environmentally-influenced negative emotionality factor. A second aim was to examine the extent to which different reporters appeared to be tapping into the same genetically- and environmentally-influenced aspects of each emotion. According to mother- and father-report, moderate to high genetic influences were evident for all emotions, with mother- and father-report of fear and father-report of anger showing the highest heritability. Significant common environmental influences were also found for mother-report of anger and sadness in both univariate and multivariate models. For observed emotion, anger was moderately heritable with no evidence for common environmental variance, but sadness, object fear and social fear all showed modest to moderate common environmental influences and no significant genetic variance. In addition, cholesky decompositions examining genetic and environmental influences across reporter suggested that despite considerable overlap between mother-report and father-report, there was also reporter-specific variance on anger, sadness, and fear. Specifically, there were significant common environmental influences on mother-report of anger- and sadness that were not shared with father-report, and genetic influences on father-report of sadness and fear that were not shared with mother-report. In-home observations were not highly correlated enough with parent-report to support multivariate analysis for any emotion. Finally, according to both mother- and father-report, a single set of genetic and environmental influences was sufficient to account for covariance among all three negative emotions. However, fear was primarily explained by genetic influences not shared with other emotions, and anger also showed considerable emotion-specific genetic variance. In both cases, findings support the value of a more emotion-specific approach to temperament, and highlight the need to consider distinctions as well as commonalities across emotions, reporters and situations.

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Date Created
2013

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Genetic and environmental influences on parenting, sibling conflict, and childhood sleep in five-year-old twins

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Understanding how interpersonal relationships, such as parenting and sibling relationships, may contribute to early sleep development is important, as early sleep dysregulation has been shown to impact later sleep behavior (Sadeh & Anders, 1993), as well as cognitive and behavioral

Understanding how interpersonal relationships, such as parenting and sibling relationships, may contribute to early sleep development is important, as early sleep dysregulation has been shown to impact later sleep behavior (Sadeh & Anders, 1993), as well as cognitive and behavioral functioning (Gregory et al., 2006; Soffer-Dudek et al., 2011). In addition, twin studies provide an optimal opportunity to estimate genetic and environmental contributions to parenting, sibling relationships and child sleep, as they are influenced by both genetic and contextual factors. As such, the current thesis examined whether parental punitive discipline and sibling conflict were associated with child sleep duration, dysregulation and daytime sleepiness at 12 months, 30 months, and five years in a longitudinal sample of young twins recruited through birth records (Lemery-Chalfant et al., 2013). Mixed model regression analyses and quantitative behavioral genetic models (univariate and bivariate) were conducted to explore bidirectional relations and estimate genetic and environmental contributions to parental punitive punishment, sibling conflict and child sleep parameters. Sleep duration and dysregulation showed stability over time. Parental punitive discipline did not predict concurrent or future sleep parameters, nor were there bidirectional relations between punitive discipline and child sleep behaviors. Greater sibling conflict at five years was associated with shorter concurrent child sleep duration and greater daytime sleepiness, suggesting that sibling conflict may be a critical interpersonal stressor that negatively impacts child sleep. Shared environmental factors also accounted for the greatest proportion of the covariance between sibling conflict and sleep duration and daytime sleepiness at five years. These findings hold promise for sleep and sibling interaction interventions, including educating parents about fostering positive sibling relations and teaching caregivers to utilize specific parenting behaviors that may encourage better child sleep behaviors (e.g., establishing bedtime routines). Future studies should aim to understand the nuances of associations between family relationships (like punitive discipline and sibling conflict) and child sleep, as well as other explore person- and family-level factors, such as child negative emotions and parenting, that may influence associations between family relationships and child sleep.

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Created

Date Created
2015

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Examining the Link Between Emotional Childhood Abuse and Social Relationships in Midlife: The Moderating Role of the Oxytocin Receptor Gene

Description

The current study examined the unique influence of emotional childhood abuse on positive and negative aspects of different types of social relationships (e.g., family, spouse/partner, and friends) in midlife and whether genetic variations of the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) moderated

The current study examined the unique influence of emotional childhood abuse on positive and negative aspects of different types of social relationships (e.g., family, spouse/partner, and friends) in midlife and whether genetic variations of the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) moderated these associations. Genetic variations in OXTR are measured by single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), which have been the most substantially studied prospects for explaining individual differences in socio-behavioral phenotypes. Specifically, an SNP, rs53576, involving a guanine (G) to adenine (A) substitution located in the third intron of the OXTR has been associated with fundamental aspects of social processes and behaviors. Compared to A carriers, individuals homozygous for the G allele have enhanced social competencies and tend to elicit more positive responses from social partners, consequently increasing the overall quality of social relationships across the lifespan. However, the G allele of the OXTR has also been associated with greater social sensitivity. In the current study, conducted among a sample of 614 adults in midlife, it was shown that emotional childhood abuse was significantly associated with having less supportive and more strained relationships in midlife. Regarding supportive family relationships, the effect of emotional childhood abuse was moderated by the OXTR rs53576 polymorphism. Specifically, under conditions of more emotional abuse in childhood, individuals homozygous for the G allele had more supportive family relationships in midlife compared to A carriers. Overall, the findings suggest that genetic variations of OXTR rs53576 may be an important candidate in understanding the development of social relationship functioning within the context of negative early life experiences.

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Created

Date Created
2018

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Comparative genomics and novel bioinformatics methodology applied to the green anole reveal unique sex chromosome evolution

Description

In species with highly heteromorphic sex chromosomes, the degradation of one of the sex chromosomes can result in unequal gene expression between the sexes (e.g., between XX females and XY males) and between the sex chromosomes and the autosomes. Dosage

In species with highly heteromorphic sex chromosomes, the degradation of one of the sex chromosomes can result in unequal gene expression between the sexes (e.g., between XX females and XY males) and between the sex chromosomes and the autosomes. Dosage compensation is a process whereby genes on the sex chromosomes achieve equal gene expression which prevents deleterious side effects from having too much or too little expression of genes on sex chromsomes. The green anole is part of a group of species that recently underwent an adaptive radiation. The green anole has XX/XY sex determination, but the content of the X chromosome and its evolution have not been described. Given its status as a model species, better understanding the green anole genome could reveal insights into other species. Genomic analyses are crucial for a comprehensive picture of sex chromosome differentiation and dosage compensation, in addition to understanding speciation.

In order to address this, multiple comparative genomics and bioinformatics analyses were conducted to elucidate patterns of evolution in the green anole and across multiple anole species. Comparative genomics analyses were used to infer additional X-linked loci in the green anole, RNAseq data from male and female samples were anayzed to quantify patterns of sex-biased gene expression across the genome, and the extent of dosage compensation on the anole X chromosome was characterized, providing evidence that the sex chromosomes in the green anole are dosage compensated.

In addition, X-linked genes have a lower ratio of nonsynonymous to synonymous substitution rates than the autosomes when compared to other Anolis species, and pairwise rates of evolution in genes across the anole genome were analyzed. To conduct this analysis a new pipeline was created for filtering alignments and performing batch calculations for whole genome coding sequences. This pipeline has been made publicly available.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2016