Genes in Behaviour and Health


Course Objective

The aim of this course is to teach the theory and practice of behavior
genetic analyses based on the classical twin design so that the student
will be able to
1) critically read and understand twin studies
2) explain how behavior genetics questions are answered using the
classical twin design (+ some extensions)
3) perform a number of basic analyses with the R libraries openMx and
Umx using real and simulated twin data

Course Content

The following topics are covered in the course:
1) the biometric model which underlies twin and family designs
2) twin and familie studies to infer the role of genetic and
environmental effects on traits based on family resemblance
3) recent developments in the field of behavior and psychiatric genetics
(e.g. intelligence, alcohol use, psychopathology)
4) the meaning of gene-environment interplay (i.e. genotype-environment
correlation and genotype x environment interaction)
5) calculation of twin correlations which give a first indication of
whether a trait is heritable
6) modeling of data from twins registered with the Netherland Twin
Register using the R libraries openMx and Umx (e.g. univariate,
bivariate, sex-limitation, GxE model)
7) interpreting the results obtained in the genetic analyses

Teaching Methods

The course consists of one lecture (3 hours) and one computer practical
(3 hours) each week (week 1-7) and a written exam in the last week (week
8). Attendance of the computer practicals is compulsory.

Method of Assessment

Examination will consist of a written exam including both open-ended and
multiple choice questions.

Entry Requirements

The student is expected to have a basic practical understand of
correlation, linear regression and basic descriptive statistics, such as
mean, variance, standard deviation. Some experience in the use of
statistical programs like SPSS is useful. Knowledge of R is an
advantage. However, the computer practicals include explanation of the R
commands that will be used (using the R studio interface).


A selection of scientific articles and book chapters, to be announced
via Canvas.

General Information

Course Code P_BGBEHE
Credits 6 EC
Period P2
Course Level 300
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Fac. of Behavioural and Movement Science
Course Coordinator dr. L.E.J. de Zeeuw
Examiner dr. L.E.J. de Zeeuw
Teaching Staff dr. L.E.J. de Zeeuw

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Teaching Methods Lecture, Practical
Target audiences

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