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Finnish study shows musical aptitude inherited
[February 23, 2011]

Finnish study shows musical aptitude inherited

HELSINKI, Feb 23, 2011 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Researchers from Helsinki University and Sibelius Academy of Finland first uncovered in a latest study the molecular genetics of musical aptitude. The research result shows that the musical aptitude of human is inherited.

According to Finnish media report on Wednesday, the Finnish researchers used methods of music education and molecular genetics to study the biological basis of musical aptitude. Thirty one Finnish pedigrees composed of 400 participants, including professional musicians, amateurs and musically untrained individuals, have participated in the study. The researchers used three music tests including the auditory structuring ability test (the Karma Music test) and Carl Seashore's pitch and time discrimination subtests to assess the musical aptitudes of the participants. In addition, blood samples of the participants over 12 years have been collected from all study subjects.

The study found that about 50 percent of the inheritance of music test scores in Finnish multigenerational families could be explained by genetic factors.

The study showed for the first time that creative functions in music (composing, arranging and improvising music) have a strong genetic component. Creativity is a multi-factorial genetic trait that involves a complex network made up of a number of genes and environmental factors. The researchers proved a connection between arginine vasopressin receptor 1A (AVPR1A) gene variants and musical aptitude, in order to explain the neurobiological basis of music in human evolution and communication.

Musical abilities have been studied for over hundred years but not until now have attempts been made to uncover the molecular genetics of musical aptitude. Researchers from Helsinki University and Sibelius Academy of Finland first uncovered the molecular genetics of musical aptitude.

Identifying molecules connected with music perception, listening and performing will likely reveal new mechanisms of brain function. Enhancing people's knowledge of interactions between the biological basis of music and human physiological functions will improve the development of cost-effective applications of music medicine in clinical practice, which could reduce the costs of medical expenses by reducing the use of medication, shortening the need for hospital care and speeding up rehabilitation processes.

The study published in the latest issue Journal of Human Genetics.

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