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Genetic variations in the dopamine system and facial expression recognition in healthy chinese college students.

Published Web Location Commons 'BY' version 4.0 license


This study investigated the relation between genetic variations in the dopamine system and facial expression recognition.


A sample of Chinese college students (n = 478) was given a facial expression recognition task. Subjects were genotyped for 98 loci [96 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and 2 variable number tandem repeats] in 16 genes involved in the dopamine neurotransmitter system, including its 4 subsystems: synthesis (TH, DDC, and DBH), degradation/transport (COMT,MAOA,MAOB, and SLC6A3), receptors (DRD1,DRD2,DRD3,DRD4, and DRD5), and modulation (NTS,NTSR1,NTSR2, and NLN). To quantify the total contributions of the dopamine system to emotion recognition, we used a series of multiple regression models. Permutation analyses were performed to assess the posterior probabilities of obtaining such results.


Among the 78 loci that were included in the final analyses (after excluding 12 SNPs that were in high linkage disequilibrium and 8 that were not in Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium), 1 (for fear), 3 (for sadness), 5 (for anger), 13 (for surprise), and 15 (for disgust) loci exhibited main effects on the recognition of facial expressions. Genetic variations in the dopamine system accounted for 3% for fear, 6% for sadness, 7% for anger, 10% for surprise, and 18% for disgust, with the latter surviving a stringent permutation test.


Genetic variations in the dopamine system (especially the dopamine synthesis and modulation subsystems) made significant contributions to individual differences in the recognition of disgust faces.

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