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Common aetiology for diverse language skills in 41/2-year-old twins

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 May 2006

MARIANNA E. HAYIOU-THOMAS
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, University of York
YULIA KOVAS
Affiliation:
Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, London
NICOLE HARLAAR
Affiliation:
Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, London
ROBERT PLOMIN
Affiliation:
Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, London
DOROTHY V. M. BISHOP
Affiliation:
Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford
PHILIP S. DALE
Affiliation:
Department of Communication Science and Disorders, University of Missouri-Columbia

Abstract

Multivariate genetic analysis was used to examine the genetic and environmental aetiology of the interrelationships of diverse linguistic skills. This study used data from a large sample of 4½-year-old twins who were tested on measures assessing articulation, phonology, grammar, vocabulary, and verbal memory. Phenotypic analysis suggested two latent factors: articulation (2 measures) and general language (the remaining 7), and a genetic model incorporating these factors provided a good fit to the data. Almost all genetic and shared environmental influences on the 9 measures acted through the two latent factors. There was also substantial aetiological overlap between the two latent factors, with a genetic correlation of 0·64 and shared environment correlation of 1·00. We conclude that to a large extent, the same genetic and environmental factors underlie the development of individual differences in a wide range of linguistic skills.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 2006 Cambridge University Press

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Footnotes

We gratefully acknowledge the ongoing contribution of the parents and children in the Twin Early Development Study (TEDS). TEDS is supported by a programme grant (G9424799) from the UK Medical Research Council.
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