Musicality is defined as a natural tendency, sensibility, knowledge, or talent to create, perceive, and play music. Musical abilities involve a great range of social and cognitive behaviors, which are influenced by both environmental and genetic factors. Although a number of studies have yielded insights into music genetics research, genes and biological pathways related to these traits are not fully understood. Our hypothesis in the current study is that genes associated with different behaviors could also influence the musical phenotype. Our aim was to investigate whether polymorphisms in six genes — AVPR1A, SLC6A4, ITGB3, COMT, DRD2 and DRD4 — related to social and cognitive traits, are associated with musicality in a sample of children. Musicality was assessed through an individualized music therapy assessment profile (IMTAP) which was validated in Brazil in order to measure musical ability. We show here that the RS1 and RS3 microsatellites of the AVPR1A gene, as well as the rs15908 polymorphism of the ITGB3 gene are associated with musicality. Our results suggest that vasopressin, serotonin, and related genes influence musical ability. This study is one of the first to investigate musicality in a comprehensive way, and it contributes to better understanding of the genetic basis underpinning musical ability.
Mariath , L., da Silva, A., Tagliani-Ribeiro, A., de Araujo, G., Gattino, G., Figueiredo, F., Roman, T., Schüler-Faccini, L., & Schuch, J. (2017). Music Genetics Research: Association with Musicality of a Polymorphism in the AVPR1A Gene. Genetics and Molecular Biology, 40(2), 421-429. https://doi.org/10.1590/1678-4685-gmb-2016-0021