Genetics of human episodic memory: dealing with complexity

Trends Cogn Sci. 2011 Sep;15(9):381-7. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2011.07.005. Epub 2011 Aug 10.


Episodic memory is a polygenic behavioral trait with substantial heritability estimates. Despite its complexity, recent empirical evidence supports the notion that behavioral genetic studies of episodic memory might successfully identify trait-associated molecules and pathways. The development of high-throughput genotyping methods, of elaborated statistical analyses and of phenotypic assessment methods at the neural systems level will facilitate the reliable identification of novel memory-related genes. Importantly, a necessary crosstalk between behavioral genetic studies and investigation of causality by molecular genetic studies will ultimately pave the way towards the identification of biologically important, and hopefully druggable, genes and molecular pathways related to human episodic memory.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Brain / physiology
  • Epistasis, Genetic / genetics
  • Genetics, Behavioral*
  • Genome-Wide Association Study*
  • Humans
  • Memory*
  • Phenotype