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Heritability of fractional anisotropy in human white matter: a comparison of Human Connectome Project and ENIGMA-DTI data

Kochunov, Peter; Jahanshad, Neda; Marcus, Daniel; Winkler, Anderson; Sprooten, Emma; Nichols, Thomas E.; Wright, Susan N.; Hong, L. Elliot; Patel, Binish; Behrens, Timothy; Jbabdi, Saad; Andersson, Jesper; Lenglet, Christophe; Yacoub, Essa; Moeller, Steen; Auerbach, Eddie; Ugurbil, Kamil; Sotiropoulos, Stamatios N.; Brouwer, Rachel M.; Landman, Bennett; Lemaitre, Herv�; den Braber, Anouk; Zwiers, Marcel P.; Ritchie, Stuart; van Hulzen, Kimm; Almasy, Laura; Curran, Joanne; deZubicaray, Greig I.; Duggirala, Ravi; Fox, Peter; Martin, Nicholas G.; McMahon, Katie L.; Mitchell, Braxton; Olvera, Rene L.; Peterson, Charles; Starr, John; Sussmann, Jessika; Wardlaw, Joanna; Wright, Margie; Boomsma, Dorret I.; Kahn, Rene; de Geus, Eco J.C.; Williamson, Douglas E.; Hariri, Ahmad; van 't Ent, Dennis; Bastin, Mark E.; McIntosh, Andrew; Deary, Ian J.; Hulshoff pol, Hilleke E.; Blangero, John; Thompson, Paul M.; Glahn, David C.; Van Essen, David C.

Heritability of fractional anisotropy in human white matter: a comparison of Human Connectome Project and ENIGMA-DTI data Thumbnail


Peter Kochunov

Neda Jahanshad

Daniel Marcus

Anderson Winkler

Emma Sprooten

Thomas E. Nichols

Susan N. Wright

L. Elliot Hong

Binish Patel

Timothy Behrens

Saad Jbabdi

Jesper Andersson

Christophe Lenglet

Essa Yacoub

Steen Moeller

Eddie Auerbach

Kamil Ugurbil

Stamatios N. Sotiropoulos

Rachel M. Brouwer

Bennett Landman

Herv� Lemaitre

Anouk den Braber

Marcel P. Zwiers

Stuart Ritchie

Kimm van Hulzen

Laura Almasy

Joanne Curran

Greig I. deZubicaray

Ravi Duggirala

Peter Fox

Nicholas G. Martin

Katie L. McMahon

Braxton Mitchell

Rene L. Olvera

Charles Peterson

John Starr

Jessika Sussmann

Joanna Wardlaw

Margie Wright

Dorret I. Boomsma

Rene Kahn

Eco J.C. de Geus

Douglas E. Williamson

Ahmad Hariri

Dennis van 't Ent

Mark E. Bastin

Andrew McIntosh

Ian J. Deary

Hilleke E. Hulshoff pol

John Blangero

Paul M. Thompson

David C. Glahn

David C. Van Essen


The degree to which genetic factors influence brain connectivity is beginning to be understood. Large-scale efforts are underway to map the profile of genetic effects in various brain regions. The NIH-funded Human Connectome Project (HCP) is providing data valuable for analyzing the degree of genetic influence underlying brain connectivity revealed by state-of-the-art neuroimaging methods. We calculated the heritability of the fractional anisotropy (FA) measure derived from diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) reconstruction in 481 HCP subjects (194/287 M/F) consisting of 57/60 pairs of mono- and dizygotic twins, and 246 siblings. FA measurements were derived using (Enhancing NeuroImaging Genetics through Meta-Analysis) ENIGMA DTI protocols and heritability estimates were calculated using the SOLAR-Eclipse imaging genetic analysis package. We compared heritability estimates derived from HCP data to those publicly available through the ENIGMA-DTI consortium, which were pooled together from five-family based studies across the US, Europe, and Australia. FA measurements from the HCP cohort for eleven major white matter tracts were highly heritable (h2 = 0.53–0.90, p < 10− 5), and were significantly correlated with the joint-analytical estimates from the ENIGMA cohort on the tract and voxel-wise levels. The similarity in regional heritability suggests that the additive genetic contribution to white matter microstructure is consistent across populations and imaging acquisition parameters. It also suggests that the overarching genetic influence provides an opportunity to define a common genetic search space for future gene-discovery studies. Uniquely, the measurements of additive genetic contribution performed in this study can be repeated using online genetic analysis tools provided by the HCP ConnectomeDB web application.


Kochunov, P., Jahanshad, N., Marcus, D., Winkler, A., Sprooten, E., Nichols, T. E., …Van Essen, D. C. (2015). Heritability of fractional anisotropy in human white matter: a comparison of Human Connectome Project and ENIGMA-DTI data. NeuroImage, 111,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 23, 2015
Online Publication Date Mar 4, 2015
Publication Date May 1, 2015
Deposit Date Jul 11, 2018
Publicly Available Date Jul 11, 2018
Journal NeuroImage
Print ISSN 1053-8119
Electronic ISSN 1053-8119
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 111
Public URL
Publisher URL


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