Is there any research done on the genetic variance for Music appreciation?

If not, why is there no genetic variance for this trait?

  • $\begingroup$ It is important to understand what genetic reason behind .. means. It usually makes much more sense to ask Is there some genetic variance underlying music appreciation?. You may want to have a look to this and/or this post. You may, then eventually want to edit your question. $\endgroup$
    – Remi.b
    Jul 24 '14 at 8:43
  • $\begingroup$ @Remi.b: Sounds better! $\endgroup$ Jul 24 '14 at 9:31
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, it looks much better to me! Well.. I personally have no idea! The only think I can say is that such studies in humans are likely to be biased due to the culture and assortative mating. $\endgroup$
    – Remi.b
    Jul 24 '14 at 9:56
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    $\begingroup$ One can perhaps look at extremes: compare Beethoven (or any other musical genius) with lets say a great mathematician who has no appreciation for music. (That way you have normalized for basic intelligence). But these are just opinions. $\endgroup$
    Jul 24 '14 at 11:09
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    $\begingroup$ Yeah, this is definitely on topic. $\endgroup$
    – J. Musser
    Jul 25 '14 at 2:41

In 2013, Dr. Liisa Ukkola-Vuoti, University of Helsinki, Finland, done a detailed GWCNV(Genome-Wide Copy Number Variation) Analysis of certain group of people for musical creativity and aptitude.

Genome-Wide Copy Number Variation Analysis in Extended Families and Unrelated Individuals Characterized for Musical Aptitude and Creativity in Music

  • They did a Genome Wide Copy Number Variations (CNVs) in five extended pedigrees and in 172 unrelated subjects characterized for musical aptitude and creative functions in music

  • Muscial Aptitude is taken as Sum of Scores of Auditory structuring ability, Seashores test for pitch and for time. Along with data on creativity in music was surveyed using a web-based questionnaire.

  • Several CNVRs containing genes that affect neurodevelopment, learning and memory were detected.
  • A deletion at 5q31.1 covering the protocadherin-α gene cluster (Pcdha 1-9) was found co-segregating with low music test scores (COMB) in both sample sets. Pcdha is involved in neural migration, differentiation and synaptogenesis.

  • Creativity in music was found to co-segregate with a duplication covering glucose mutarotase gene (GALM) at 2p22. GALM has influence on serotonin release and membrane trafficking of the human serotonin transporter.

  • Genes related to serotonergic systems have been shown to associate not only with psychiatric disorders but also with creativity and music perception.

  • Both, Pcdha and GALM, are related to the serotonergic systems influencing cognitive and motor functions, important for music perception and practice.

  • A 1.3 Mb duplication was identified in a subject with low COMB scores in the region previously linked with absolute pitch (AP) at 8q24.

  • No differences in the CNV burden was detected among the high/low music test scores or creative/non-creative groups.

In summary, CNVs and genes found in this study are related to cognitive functions. Our result suggests new candidate genes for music perception related traits and supports the previous results from AP study.


[1] Genome-Wide Copy Number Variation Analysis in Extended Families and Unrelated Individuals Characterized for Musical Aptitude and Creativity in Music

[2] Musical Aptitude Is Associated with AVPR1A-Haplotypes

  • $\begingroup$ Interesting study, thank you! It is worth noting that probably these two traits (creativity and aptitude) may be highly correlated with IQ. $\endgroup$
    – Remi.b
    Jul 24 '14 at 12:25
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    $\begingroup$ @Remi.b: Yes they are. Thanks for not closing this question. $\endgroup$ Jul 24 '14 at 12:26
  • $\begingroup$ @Remi.b no those traits would correlate more strongly to expertise in a specific field rather than general intelligence. iq measures not genius which is what these genes could potentially spawn with others of course $\endgroup$
    – user1357
    Aug 2 '14 at 4:22

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