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date: 17 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter provides an overview of the current evidence on the behavioral genetic etiology of mental retardation. It begins with a history of the two-group approach and the need to differentiate between organic and nonpathological forms of mental retardation. Then, it presents evidence that genetic and environmental factors that contribute to variation in IQ in the general population may also lead to low IQ in persons with familial mental retardation. The chapter continues with a review of the new behavioral genetic work to identify DNA markers for intelligence. It outlines methodological challenges, with particular emphasis on how these issues pertain to the search for an etiological link between familial mental retardation and normal variation in general cognitive ability. It concludes with a discussion of familial mental retardation within the broader scope of the reciprocal relation between genetic and environmental influences.

Keywords: Familial mental retardation, behavioral genetic etiology, IQ, DNA markers, intelligence, cognitive ability

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