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Couldn't Re-Do It

Researchers were unable to replicate a 2012 study that reported a link between certain genetic variants and differences in brain function, The Scientist reports.

In that first study, which appeared in the Journal of Neuroscience, researchers from France reported that that healthy people with certain SNPs in the language-linked FOXP2 gene exhibited different areas of activation in the left frontal cortex while reading, as captured by a functional MRI scan. Variants at another locus, meanwhile, led to functional asymmetry of the superior temporal sulcus. This suggested to them that the effects of genetic variants could be captured through brain scans.

But as The Scientist reports, a team from the Netherlands and Sweden attempted to replicate this study. Also reporting in the Journal of Neuroscience, this team tested those findings in a larger cohort, but could not replicate those associations.

Philippe Pinel, a cognitive neuroscientist at the École des Neurosciences de Paris Île-de-France and one of the authors of the 2012 study, tells The Scientist that the differences in results could be due to the earlier cohort being more homogenous, but he notes these findings "challenge our results and [demonstrate the] need to stimulate a better understanding of the possible sources of inconsistency."