This study examined the stability of genetic and environmental influences on individual differences in P300 amplitude during adolescence. The P300 component is an event-related brain potential (ERP) that has attracted much attention as a biological marker for disturbed cognitive processing in psychopathology. Understanding the genetics of this biological marker may contribute to understanding the genetics of the associated psychopathologies. In a group of 213 adolescent twin pairs, the P300 component was measured twice, the first time at age 16 and the second time 18 months later. A large part of the variance of the P300 amplitude could be explained by familial factors, with estimates ranging from 30% to 81%. Whether the familial resemblance was due to genetic or shared environmental factors depended on sex. For males, genetic factors explained familial resemblance in P300 amplitude, but for females such resemblance was likely due to shared environmental factors. The phenotypic stability of the P300 amplitude from 16 to 18 years was high in both sexes, and stability could be attributed largely to the same familial factors. There was no evidence that new familial influences emerged at age 18.
- Netherlands Twin Register (NTR)