The genetic underpinnings of callous-unemotional traits: A systematic research review

Ashlee A. Moore, R. James Blair, John M. Hettema, Roxann Roberson-Nay

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Background: Callous-unemotional (CU) traits represent the affective features of psychopathy used to delineate youth at high risk for externalizing pathology. The genetic etiology CU traits is not currently well-understood. Methods: The current review surveyed the literature for studies on the genetic underpinnings of CU traits and integrated information from 39 genetic studies. Results: The results from 24 studies with quantitative data suggest that the heritability for CU traits is likely between 36–67%. A majority of the 16 molecular genetic studies focused on candidate genes in the serotonin and oxytocin systems with results that have not been well replicated. Although two genome-wide association studies have been conducted, no genome-wide significant loci have been discovered. Discussion: There is some evidence to suggest that the serotonin and oxytocin systems may play a role in CU traits; however, there is currently not enough evidence to implicate specific genetic mechanisms. The authors encourage researchers to continue to apply the most up-to-date and relevant methodology, specifically collaborations and consortiums using genome-wide and polygenic methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-97
Number of pages13
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
Volume100
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2019

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Oxytocin
Serotonin
Genome
Genome-Wide Association Study
Research
Molecular Biology
Research Personnel
Pathology
Genes

Keywords

  • Callous
  • Epigenetics
  • Genetics
  • Genomics
  • Heritability
  • Psychopathy
  • Twins
  • Uncaring
  • Unemotional

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

Cite this

The genetic underpinnings of callous-unemotional traits : A systematic research review. / Moore, Ashlee A.; Blair, R. James; Hettema, John M.; Roberson-Nay, Roxann.

In: Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, Vol. 100, 05.2019, p. 85-97.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Moore, Ashlee A. ; Blair, R. James ; Hettema, John M. ; Roberson-Nay, Roxann. / The genetic underpinnings of callous-unemotional traits : A systematic research review. In: Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews. 2019 ; Vol. 100. pp. 85-97.
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