Human behavioural genetics aims to unravel the genetic and environmental contributions to variations in human behaviour. Behaviour is a complex trait, involving multiple genes that are affected by a variety of other factors. Genetic epidemiological research of behaviour goes back to Sir Francis Galton (1822-1911), who systematically studied heredity of human behaviour and mind, introducing major statistical concepts such as correlation and regression towards the mean. After a brief period in which genetic research of behaviour fell into dismay as a result of its association to eugenics and the Nazi regime, there is at present growing scientific interest in genes and behaviour. Without a doubt, behaviour in humans and animals is for a large part genetically determined1. In this thesis, I have limited myself to a number of diseases and traits.

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The work in this thesis was conducted at the department of Epidemiology, Erasmus MC,Rotterdam, the Netherlands. This work was supported by the Erasmus MC, the Erasmus UniversityRotterdam, the Centre for Medical Systems Biology (CMSB), the Netherlands Consortium forHealthy Ageing (NCHA), the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), theNetherlands Genomic Initiative (NGI), the Research Institute for Diseases in the Elderly (RIDE),the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports, theEuropean Commission and the Municipality of Rotterdam.
C.M. van Duijn (Cornelia) , B.A. Oostra (Ben)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
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Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam