Sunday, June 20, 2021

Heritable functional architecture in human visual cortex

Abstract of the linked article:

How much of the functional organization of our visual system is inherited? Here we tested the heritability of retinotopic maps in human visual cortex using functional magnetic resonance imaging. We demonstrate that retinotopic organization shows a closer correspondence in monozygotic (MZ) compared to dizygotic (DZ) twin pairs, suggesting a partial genetic determination. Using population receptive field (pRF) analysis to examine the preferred spatial location and selectivity of these neuronal populations, we estimate a heritability around 10-20% for polar angle preferences and spatial selectivity, as quantified by pRF size, in extrastriate areas V2 and V3. Our findings are consistent with heritability in both the macroscopic arrangement of visual regions and stimulus tuning properties of visual cortex. This could constitute a neural substrate for variations in a range of perceptual effects, which themselves have been found to be at least partially genetically determined. These findings also add convergent evidence for the hypothesis that functional map topology is linked with cortical morphology.


  1. I can quite work out what a retinotopic map is. Although I confused things further by searching for retinotopic map & sound.

    Using sound to see and visualy map when vision is restricted is to my eyes more instantly and understandably map- like function.

    "Here, we report such evidence by showing that primary ‘visual’ cortex can be adapted to map spatial location of sound........ This result is clear evidence that task-specific organization can extend even to primary sensory cortices"

    Retinotopic-like maps of spatial sound in primary ‘visual’ cortex of blind human echolocators
    Liam J. Norman and Lore Thale

  2. Should be can't rather than can.

    I notice I have to hear and sense my spelling mistakes, I rarely see them, without some sense of sound.