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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Hierarchical genetic organization of human cortical surface area.

  • Author(s): Chen, Chi-Hua
  • Gutierrez, ED
  • Thompson, Wes
  • Panizzon, Matthew S
  • Jernigan, Terry L
  • Eyler, Lisa T
  • Fennema-Notestine, Christine
  • Jak, Amy J
  • Neale, Michael C
  • Franz, Carol E
  • Lyons, Michael J
  • Grant, Michael D
  • Fischl, Bruce
  • Seidman, Larry J
  • Tsuang, Ming T
  • Kremen, William S
  • Dale, Anders M
  • et al.

Surface area of the cerebral cortex is a highly heritable trait, yet little is known about genetic influences on regional cortical differentiation in humans. Using a data-driven, fuzzy clustering technique with magnetic resonance imaging data from 406 twins, we parceled cortical surface area into genetic subdivisions, creating a human brain atlas based solely on genetically informative data. Boundaries of the genetic divisions corresponded largely to meaningful structural and functional regions; however, the divisions represented previously undescribed phenotypes different from conventional (non-genetically based) parcellation systems. The genetic organization of cortical area was hierarchical, modular, and predominantly bilaterally symmetric across hemispheres. We also found that the results were consistent with human-specific regions being subdivisions of previously described, genetically based lobar regionalization patterns.

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