The genetics of cognitive ability and cognitive ageing in healthy older people

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Determining the genetic influences on cognitive ability in old age and in cognitive ageing are important areas of research in an increasingly ageing society. Heritability studies indicate that genetic variants strongly influence cognitive ability differences throughout the lifespan, including in old age. To date, however, only the genes encoding apolipoprotein E (APOE) and possibly catechol-O-methyl transferase (COMT), brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and dystrobrevin binding protein 1 (DTNBP1) have repeatedly been associated in candidate gene studies with cognitive decline or with cognitive ability in older individuals. Genome-wide association studies have identified further potential loci, but results are tentative. Advances in exome and/or whole-genome sequencing, transcriptomics, proteomics and methylomics hold significant promise for uncovering the genetic underpinnings of cognitive ability and decline in old age.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)388-94
Number of pages7
JournalTrends in Cognitive Sciences
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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