Heritability of the human connectome: A connectotyping study

Oscar Miranda-Dominguez, Eric Feczko, David S. Grayson, Hasse Walum, Joel T. Nigg, Damien A. Fair
2018 Network Neuroscience  
Recent progress in resting-state neuroimaging demonstrates that the brain exhibits highly individualized patterns of functional connectivity-a "connectotype." How these individualized patterns may be constrained by environment and genetics is unknown. Here we ask whether the connectotype is familial and heritable. Using a novel approach to estimate familiality via a machine-learning framework, we analyzed resting-state fMRI scans from two well-characterized samples of child and adult siblings.
more » ... irst we show that individual connectotypes were reliably identified even several years after the initial scanning timepoint. Familial relationships between participants, such as siblings versus those who are unrelated, were also accurately characterized. The connectotype demonstrated substantial heritability driven by high-order systems including the fronto-parietal, dorsal attention, ventral attention, cingulo-opercular, and default systems. This work suggests that shared genetics and environment contribute toward producing complex, individualized patterns of distributed brain activity, rather than constraining local aspects of function. These insights offer new strategies for characterizing individual aberrations in brain function and evaluating heritability of brain networks. AUTHOR SUMMARY By using machine learning and two independent datasets, this report shows that the brain's individualized functional connectome or connectotype is familial and heritable. First we expand previous findings showing that by using a model-based approach to characterize functional connectivity, we can reliably identify and track individual brain signatures-a functional "fingerprint" or "connectotype" for the human brain-in both children and adults. Such signatures can also be used to characterize familial and heritable patterns of brain connectivity, even using limited data. Most heritable systems include the fronto-parietal, dorsal attention, ventral attention, cingulo-opercular, and default systems. Our proposed approach offers new strategies for characterizing normative development as well as altered patterns of brain connectivity and assists in characterizing the associations between genetic and epigenetic factors with brain function.
doi:10.1162/netn_a_00029 pmid:30215032 pmcid:PMC6130446 fatcat:pn7wxnhpujcxjahqutwmeufetq