Journal of Child Language



Common aetiology for diverse language skills in 41/2-year-old twins 1


MARIANNA E. HAYIOU-THOMAS a1c1, YULIA KOVAS a2, NICOLE HARLAAR a2, ROBERT PLOMIN a2, DOROTHY V. M. BISHOP a3 and PHILIP S. DALE a4
a1 Department of Psychology, University of York
a2 Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, London
a3 Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford
a4 Department of Communication Science and Disorders, University of Missouri-Columbia

Article author query
hayiou-thomas me   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
kovas y   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
harlaar n   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
plomin r   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
bishop dv   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
dale ps   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 

Abstract

Multivariate genetic analysis was used to examine the genetic and environmental aetiology of the interrelationships of diverse linguistic skills. This study used data from a large sample of 4[fraction one-half]-year-old twins who were tested on measures assessing articulation, phonology, grammar, vocabulary, and verbal memory. Phenotypic analysis suggested two latent factors: articulation (2 measures) and general language (the remaining 7), and a genetic model incorporating these factors provided a good fit to the data. Almost all genetic and shared environmental influences on the 9 measures acted through the two latent factors. There was also substantial aetiological overlap between the two latent factors, with a genetic correlation of 0·64 and shared environment correlation of 1·00. We conclude that to a large extent, the same genetic and environmental factors underlie the development of individual differences in a wide range of linguistic skills.

(Received October 29 2004)
(Revised September 23 2005)


Correspondence:
c1 Department of Psychology, University of York, Heslington, York YO10 5DD. e-mail: m.hayiou-thomas@psychology.york.ac.uk


Footnotes

1 We gratefully acknowledge the ongoing contribution of the parents and children in the Twin Early Development Study (TEDS). TEDS is supported by a programme grant (G9424799) from the UK Medical Research Council.