Genes in Behaviour and Health
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Area of Study
Behavioral Science, Biology
Taught In English
Course Level Recommendations
ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.
Recommended U.S. Semester Credits3
Recommended U.S. Quarter Units4
Hours & Credits
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
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
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.
TYPE OF ASSESSMENT
Examination will consist of a written exam including both open-ended and multiple choice questions.
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).
Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.
Some courses may require additional fees.