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Evidence both from animal and human studies suggests that common polymorphisms in the oxytocin receptor (OXTR) gene are likely candidates to confer risk for autism spectrum disorders (ASD). In lower mammals, oxytocin is important in a wide range of social behaviors, and recent human studies have shown that administration of oxytocin modulates behavior in(More)
BACKGROUND Economic games observe social decision making in the laboratory that involves real money payoffs. Previously we have shown that allocation of funds in the Dictator Game (DG), a paradigm that illustrates costly altruistic behavior, is partially determined by promoter-region repeat region variants in the arginine vasopressin 1a receptor gene(More)
Human altruism is a widespread phenomenon that puzzled evolutionary biologists since Darwin. Economic games illustrate human altruism by showing that behavior deviates from economic predictions of profit maximization. A game that most plainly shows this altruistic tendency is the Dictator Game. We hypothesized that human altruistic behavior is to some(More)
BACKGROUND Impairments in social processes characterize one of the core deficits in autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and accumulating evidence suggests that oxytocin neurotransmission is implicated in mediating social adaptation in ASD. Using a mouse model, CD38, a transmembrane protein expressed in immune cells but also in brain, was found to be critical(More)
Dancing, which is integrally related to music, likely has its origins close to the birth of Homo sapiens, and throughout our history, dancing has been universally practiced in all societies. We hypothesized that there are differences among individuals in aptitude, propensity, and need for dancing that may partially be based on differences in common genetic(More)
Increasing evidence suggests that two nonapeptides, arginine vasopressin and oxytocin, shape human social behavior in both nonclinical and clinical subjects. Evidence is discussed that in autism spectrum disorders genetic polymorphisms in the vasopressin-oxytocin pathway, notably the arginine vasopressin receptor 1a (AVPR1a), the oxytocin receptor (OXTR),(More)
BACKGROUND A key protein in maintaining neuronal integrity throughout the life span is brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). The BDNF gene is characterized by a functional polymorphism, which has been associated with stress-related disorders such as anxiety-related syndromes and depression, prompting us to examine individual responses by Genotype and(More)
Deficits in social behavior in mice lacking the CD38 gene have been attributed to impaired secretion of oxytocin. In humans, similar deficits in social behavior are associated with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), for which genetic variants of CD38 have been pinpointed as provisional risk factors. We sought to explore, in an in vitro model, the feasibility(More)
Cigarette smoking is a complex behavior to which environmental, psychological, and genetic factors contribute. Applying a multifactorial model, we examined the role of genetic variation in the dopamine transporter (DAT1) in smoking initiation (SI) and nicotine dependence. The participants were female college students who had never smoked (n = 148) or had(More)
Recent work has led to the identification of several susceptibility genes for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and an increased appreciation of the importance of rare and de novo mutations. Some of the mutations may be very hard to detect using current strategies, especially if they are located in regulatory regions. We present a new approach to identify(More)