Article

The genetics of colored sequence synesthesia: Evidence of linkage to chromosome 16q and genetic heterogeneity for the condition

Nature Precedings 01/2009; DOI: 10.1038/npre.2009.3987.1
Source: OAI

ABSTRACT Synesthesia is a perceptual condition in which normal sensory stimulation can trigger anomalous sensory experiences. For example, synesthetes may experience colors in response to sounds, tastes in response to words, or smells in response to touch. We here focus on colored sequence synesthesia, in which color experiences are triggered by learned ordinal sequences such as letters, numbers, weekdays and months. Although synesthesia has been noted in the scientific literature for over a century, it is understood only at the level of the phenomenology, and not at the molecular and neural levels. We have performed a linkage analysis to identify the first genetic loci responsible for the increased neural crosstalk underlying colored sequence synesthesia. Our analysis has identified a 23 MB region on chromosome 16 as a putative locus for the trait. Our data provide the first step in understanding neural crosstalk from its molecular basis to its behavioral consequences, opening a new inroad into the understanding of the multisensory brain.

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