Behavioral and Molecular Genetics of Reading-Related AM and FM Detection Thresholds

Behav Genet. 2017 Mar;47(2):193-201. doi: 10.1007/s10519-016-9821-3. Epub 2016 Nov 9.


Auditory detection thresholds for certain frequencies of both amplitude modulated (AM) and frequency modulated (FM) dynamic auditory stimuli are associated with reading in typically developing and dyslexic readers. We present the first behavioral and molecular genetic characterization of these two auditory traits. Two extant extended family datasets were given reading tasks and psychoacoustic tasks to determine FM 2 Hz and AM 20 Hz sensitivity thresholds. Univariate heritabilities were significant for both AM (h 2 = 0.20) and FM (h 2 = 0.29). Bayesian posterior probability of linkage (PPL) analysis found loci for AM (12q, PPL = 81 %) and FM (10p, PPL = 32 %; 20q, PPL = 65 %). Bivariate heritability analyses revealed that FM is genetically correlated with reading, while AM was not. Bivariate PPL analysis indicates that FM loci (10p, 20q) are not also associated with reading.

Keywords: AM processing; Dynamic auditory sensitivity; FM processing; Heritability; Language; Reading.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Auditory Threshold / physiology*
  • Bayes Theorem
  • Dyslexia / genetics*
  • Dyslexia / psychology
  • Family
  • Female
  • Genetics, Behavioral / methods
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Molecular Biology / methods
  • Pedigree
  • Reading*