Infant and Child Development

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Volume 23 Issue 3 (May/June 2014), Pages i-ii, 217-352

Arginine Vasopressin Gene Variation and Behavioural Inhibition in Children: an Exploratory Study (pages 249-258)

Behavioural inhibition (BI) refers to a temperamental style of responding to unfamiliar people, objects, contexts and challenging situations with cautious, avoidant and restrained behaviour. Several lines of evidence suggest that variation in the genes of the arginine vasopressin system may be candidate genes for BI. We examined associations between BI and a total of eight single‐nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) across the arginine vasopressin (AVP) gene, the arginine vasopressin 1a (AVPR1A) receptor gene, and the arginine vasopressin 1b (AVPR1B) receptor gene. The sample consisted of 337 families from whom BI was coded from direct observation with two typically developing children per family. We performed single‐marker analysis, and we also tested the combination of alleles, the haplotypes, for each gene for association with BI. Results revealed that SNP rs3761249 in the AVP gene region showed a significant association between allele C and BI measures. No other significant associations were found between BI and the other seven SNPs and haplotypes. The present exploratory study provides the first empirical evidence of a possible association between behavioural inhibition and variation in the AVP gene in humans. Findings are discussed within the context of vasopressin's influence on individual differences in social behaviour. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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