Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Open Peer Commentary

Genomic imprinting and disorders of the social brain; shades of grey rather than black and white

William Daviesa1 and Anthony R. Islesa1

a1 Behavioural Genetics Group, Department of Psychological Medicine, School of Medicine and School of Psychology, University of Cardiff, Cardiff CF14 4XN, United Kingdom.


Crespi & Badcock (C&B) provide a novel hypothesis outlining a role for imprinted genes in mediating brain functions underlying social behaviours. The basic premise is that maternally expressed genes are predicted to promote hypermentalistic behaviours, and paternally expressed genes hypomentalistic behaviours. The authors provide a detailed overview of data supporting their ideas, but as we discuss, caution should be applied in interpreting these data.