Genomic imprinting and human psychology:
cognition, behavior and pathology

Goos LM, Ragsdale G.
Department of Psychiatry Research,
The Hospital for Sick Children,
University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Adv Exp Med Biol. 2008;626:71-88.


Imprinted genes expressed in the brain are numerous and it has become clear that they play an important role in nervous system development and function. The significant influence of genomic imprinting during development sets the stage for structural and physiological variations affecting psychological function and behaviour, as well as other physiological systems mediating health and well-being. However, our understanding of the role of imprinted genes in behaviour lags far behind our understanding of their roles in perinatal growth and development. Knowledge of genomic imprinting remains limited among behavioral scientists and clinicians and research regarding the influence of imprinted genes on normal cognitive processes and the most common forms of neuropathology has been limited to date. In this chapter, we will explore how knowledge of genomic imprinting can be used to inform our study of normal human cognitive and behavioral processes as well as their disruption. Behavioural analyses of rare imprinted disorders, such as Prader-Willi and Angelman syndromes, provide insight regarding the phenotypic impact of imprinted genes in the brain, and can be used to guide the study of normal behaviour as well as more common but etiologically complex disorders such as ADHD and autism. Furthermore, hypotheses regarding the evolutionary development of imprinted genes can be used to derive predictions about their role in normal behavioural variation, such as that observed in food-related and social interactions.
Anxiety disorders
Genomic imprinting
Evolutionary ethics
'Artificial' evolution
Germline genetic engineering
Congenital insensitivity to pain
Gene therapy and performance enhancement
Transhumanism (H+): toward a Brave New World?
Mechanisms of imprinting of the Prader-Willi/Angelman region
Assisted reproductive technology births and imprinting disorders

and further reading

BLTC Research
Utopian Surgery?
The Good Drug Guide
The Abolitionist Project
The Hedonistic Imperative
The Reproductive Revolution
MDMA: Utopian Pharmacology
Critique of Huxley's Brave New World