Culture Magazine

Heritable Functional Architecture in Human Visual Cortex

By Bbenzon @bbenzon

End of an odyssey of many years - I'm sure I had the first logistical discussions about this project in 2012... Our twin study on retinotopic (pRF) maps with @noniejf @ivan_a_alvarez @j_greenwood Shwe Ei & Benjamin de Haas now out in @NeuroImage_EiC

— Sam Schwarzkopf (@sampendu) June 21, 2021

Abstract of the linked article:

How much of the functional organization of our visual system is inherited? Here we tested the heritability of retinotopic maps in human visual cortex using functional magnetic resonance imaging. We demonstrate that retinotopic organization shows a closer correspondence in monozygotic (MZ) compared to dizygotic (DZ) twin pairs, suggesting a partial genetic determination. Using population receptive field (pRF) analysis to examine the preferred spatial location and selectivity of these neuronal populations, we estimate a heritability around 10-20% for polar angle preferences and spatial selectivity, as quantified by pRF size, in extrastriate areas V2 and V3. Our findings are consistent with heritability in both the macroscopic arrangement of visual regions and stimulus tuning properties of visual cortex. This could constitute a neural substrate for variations in a range of perceptual effects, which themselves have been found to be at least partially genetically determined. These findings also add convergent evidence for the hypothesis that functional map topology is linked with cortical morphology.

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