Recent advances in neuroimaging technologies have allowed ever more detailed studies of the human brain. The combination of neuroimaging techniques with genetics may provide a more sensitive measure of the influence of genetic variants on cognitive function than behavioural measures alone. Here we present a review of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies of genetic links to executive functions, focusing on sustained attention, working memory and response inhibition. In addition to studies in the normal population, we also address findings from three clinical populations: schizophrenia, ADHD and autism spectrum disorders. While the findings in the populations studied do not always converge, they all point to the usefulness of neuroimaging techniques such as fMRI as potential endophenotypes for parsing the genetic aetiology of executive function.
Trinity College Dublin ->