cognitive impact, genetic variation, brain morphology, serotonin, serotonin nuerotransmission


A powerful convergence of genetics, neuroimaging and epidemiological research has identified biological pathways mediating individual differences in complex behavioral processes and related risk for disease. Orthologous genetic variation in non-human primates represents a unique opportunity to characterize the detailed molecular and cellular mechanisms which bias behaviorally- and clinically-relevant brain function. We report that a rhesus macaque orthologue of a common polymorphism of the serotonin transporter gene (rh5-HTTLPR) has strikingly similar effects on behavior and brain morphology to those in humans. Specifically, the rh5- HTTLPR Short allele broadly impacts cognitive choice behavior and brain morphology without observably affecting 5-HT transporter or 5-HT1A concentrations in vivo. Collectively, our findings indicate that 5-HTTLPR-associated behavioral effects reflect genotype-dependent biases in cortical development rather than static differences in serotonergic signaling mechanisms. Moreover, these data highlight the vast potential of non-human primate models in advancing our understanding of human genetic variation impacting behavior and neuropsychiatric disease liability

Original Publication Citation

Jedema, H., Gianaros, P., Greer, P. et al. Cognitive impact of genetic variation of the serotonin transporter in primates is associated with differences in brain morphology rather than serotonin neurotransmission. Mol Psychiatry 15, 512–522 (2010).

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Mol Psychiatry




Family, Home, and Social Sciences



University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor

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Psychology Commons