Research studies have found that smooth pursuit eye movement dysfunction may serve as an index of genetic liability to develop schizophrenia. The heritability of various measures of smooth pursuit eye tracking proficiency and the saccades that occur during smooth pursuit was examined in 64 monozygotic (MZ) and 48 dizygotic (DZ) twin pairs. Two age cohorts were assessed (11-12 and 17-18 years of age). Intraclass correlations indicated significant similarity in the MZ twins for almost all measures in both age cohorts, whereas few of the DZ twin correlations attained significance. Biometrical modeling indicated that genetic mechanisms influence performance on both global and specific eye tracking measures, accounting for about 40% to 60% of the variance. These findings suggest that the underlying brain systems responsible for smooth pursuit and saccade generation during pursuit are under partial genetic control.
- Smooth pursuit
- Twin studies