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Genetic determinants of individual variation in the superior temporal sulcus of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes)

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

The superior temporal sulcus (STS) is a conserved fold that divides the middle and superior temporal gyri. In humans, there is considerable variation in the shape, folding pattern, lateralization, and depth of the STS that have been reported to be associated with social cognition and linguistic functions. We examined the role that genetic factors play on individual variation in STS morphology in chimpanzees. The surface area and depth of the STS were quantified in sample of 292 captive chimpanzees comprised of two genetically isolated population of individuals. The chimpanzees had been previously genotyped for AVPR1A and KIAA0319, two genes that play a role in social cognition and communication in humans. Single nucleotide polymorphisms in the KIAA0319 and AVPR1A genes were associated with average depth as well as asymmetries in the STS. By contrast, we found no significant effects of these KIA0319 and AVPR1A polymorphism on surface area and depth measures for the central sulcus. The overall findings indicate that genetic factors account for a small to moderate amount of variation in STS morphology in chimpanzees. These findings are discussed in the context of the role of the STS in social cognition and language in humans and their potential evolutionary origins.
Journal: Cerebral Cortex
Volume: bhac183
Publication year:2022