Article

Genome-wide Study of Families with Absolute Pitch Reveals Linkage to 8q24.21 and Locus Heterogeneity

Institute for Human Genetics, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA.
The American Journal of Human Genetics (Impact Factor: 10.99). 08/2009; 85(1):112-9. DOI: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2009.06.010
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Absolute pitch (AP) is the rare ability to instantaneously recognize and label tones with their musical note names without using a reference pitch for comparison. The etiology of AP is complex. Prior studies have implicated both genetic and environmental factors in its genesis, yet the molecular basis for AP remains unknown. To locate regions of the human genome that may harbor AP-predisposing genetic variants, we performed a genome-wide linkage study on 73 multiplex AP families by genotyping them with 6090 SNP markers. Nonparametric multipoint linkage analyses were conducted, and the strongest evidence for linkage was observed on chromosome 8q24.21 in the subset of 45 families with European ancestry (exponential LOD score = 3.464, empirical genome-wide p = 0.03). Other regions with suggestive LOD scores included chromosomes 7q22.3, 8q21.11, and 9p21.3. Of these four regions, only the 7q22.3 linkage peak was also evident when 19 families with East Asian ancestry were analyzed separately. Though only one of these regions has yet reached statistical significance individually, we detected a larger number of independent linkage peaks than expected by chance overall, indicating that AP is genetically heterogeneous.

Download full-text

Full-text

Available from: Analabha Basu, Jul 02, 2015
3 Followers
 · 
163 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Musical training has recently gained additional interest in education as increasing neuroscientific research demonstrates its positive effects on brain development. Neuroimaging revealed plastic changes in the brains of adult musicians but it is still unclear to what extent they are the product of intensive music training rather than of other factors, such as preexisting biological markers of musicality. In this review, we synthesize a large body of studies demonstrating that benefits of musical training extend beyond the skills it directly aims to train and last well into adulthood. For example, children who undergo musical training have better verbal memory, second language pronunciation accuracy, reading ability and executive functions. Learning to play an instrument as a child may even predict academic performance and IQ in young adulthood. The degree of observed structural and functional adaptation in the brain correlates with intensity and duration of practice. Importantly, the effects on cognitive development depend on the timing of musical initiation due to sensitive periods during development, as well as on several other modulating variables. Notably, we point to motivation, reward and social context of musical education, which are important yet neglected factors affecting the long-term benefits of musical training. Further, we introduce the notion of rhythmic entrainment and suggest that it may represent a mechanism supporting learning and development of executive functions. It also hones temporal processing and orienting of attention in time that may underlie enhancements observed in reading and verbal memory. We conclude that musical training uniquely engenders near and far transfer effects, preparing a foundation for a range of skills, and thus fostering cognitive development.
    Frontiers in Neuroscience 03/2014; 7:279. DOI:10.3389/fnins.2013.00279
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Appreciating music is cognitively demanding: listeners must learn to divide a continuous space of sound into culturally defined, discrete categories, and maintain a high degree of accuracy in their representations of those sounds. Here, we present a formal analysis of pitch category learning that reveals the trade-offs associated with learning the relative pitch categories that make music possible. Consistent with this, an empirical study reveals how under normal circumstances, people's ability to represent absolute frequency information is lost as a consequence of the learning processes that facilitate relative pitch acquisition, a finding which may help explain the rarity of absolute pitch among the general population. Understanding the contradictory computational demands of conceptual and perceptual learning can inform the design of musical training and may offer insight into the development of phonological categories in language.
  • Source
    EMBO Reports 12/2009; 10(12):1294-7. DOI:10.1038/embor.2009.241