We present a multi-cohort shape heritability study, extending the fast spherical demons registration to subcortical shapes via medial modeling. A multi-channel demons registration based on vector spherical harmonics is applied to medial and curvature features, while controlling for metric distortion. We registered and compared seven subcortical structures of 1480 twins and siblings from the Queensland Twin Imaging Study and Human Connectome Project: Thalamus, Caudate, Putamen, Pallidum, Hippocampus, Amygdala, and Nucleus Accumbens. Radial distance and tensor-based morphometry (TBM) features were found to be highly heritable throughout the entire basal ganglia and limbic system. Surface maps reveal subtle variation in heritability across functionally distinct parts of each structure. Medial Demons reveals more significantly heritable regions than two previously described surface registration methods. This approach may help to prioritize features and measures for genome-wide association studies.
Keywords: heritability; medial curves; meta-analysis; shape registration; spherical demons.