Components of the Human Connectome Project
Study design: Our goal is to recruit large groups of directly-related sibling children (each group is called a "sibship"). Wherever possible, each sibship would include 4 or more brothers or sisters. Thus, ideally we will recruit 300 families. White non-Hispanic, Hispanic, Asian and African-American families will be invited to participate, to reflect the ethnic diversity of America. Many of the families will include twin pairs, who may be either monozygotic (genetically identical) or dizygotic/fraternal (genetically no more related than ordinary full siblings).
Recruiting large sibships will help maximize our chances of success for two important goals:
(i) heritability analyses: quantifying how genetic differences between individuals contribute to differences in brain connectivity patterns and their possible correlations with cognitive, emotional and other task performance measures; and also estimating the importance of environmental influences, including influences of differences in environmental exposure and experience between siblings in the same family;
(ii) genetic association analyses: determining whether specific genetic variants contribute to differences in brain connectivity patterns. In the long term, as research by others helps identify genetic variants or genetic profiles that are associated with differences in risk of psychiatric or neurologic conditions, or in differences in treatment response, we will be able to determine whether or not such variants/profiles are associated with differences in brain connectivity patterns in healthy young adults. This may ultimately lead to improvements in diagnosis and individualized treatment.