Event-related brain potentials (ERPs) are altered in patients with a variety of psychiatric disorders and may represent quantitative correlates of disease liability that are more amenable to genetic analysis than disease status itself. Results of a genomewide linkage screen are presented for amplitude of the N4 and P3 components of the ERP, measured at 19 scalp locations in response to a semantic priming task for 604 individuals in 100 pedigrees ascertained as part of the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism. N4 and P3 amplitudes in response to three: stimuli (nonwords, primed words [i.e., antonyms], and unprimed words) all showed significant heritabilities, the highest being .54. Both N4 and P3 showed significant genetic correlations across stimulus type at a given lead anti across leads within a stimulus, indicating shared genetic influences among the traits. There were also substantial genetic correlations between the N4 and P3 amplitudes for a given lead, even across stimulus type. N4 amplitudes showed suggestive evidence of linkage in several chromosomal regions, and P3 amplitudes showed significant evidence of linkage to chromosome 5 and suggestive evidence of linkage to chromosome 4.
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