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Ability to move to the pulse of music has genetic link

ANI | Updated: Sep 24, 2022 22:53 IST

Washington [US], September 24 (ANI): In the most recent large-scale genomic research of musicality, 69 genetic variations related to beat synchronization--the capacity to move in time with the beat of the music--were discovered.
A global team of researchers led by the Vanderbilt Genetics Institute and 23andMe showed that the ability for humans to move in time with the beat of music (known as beat synchronisation) is partially encoded in the human genome. The results were released in the journal Nature Human Behaviour.
According to co-senior author Reyna Gordon, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, and co-director of the Vanderbilt Music Cognition Lab, many of the genes connected to beat synchronisation are involved in central nervous system function, including genes expressed very early in brain development and in areas underlying auditory and motor skills.
According to Gordon, "rhythm is not only impacted by one gene; it is influenced by many hundreds of genes." The essence of human musicality is the ability to tap, clap, and dance in time to the rhythm of the music.
The study also discovered that beat synchronization shares some genetic architecture with other traits, including biological rhythms such as walking, breathing and circadian patterns.

"This is novel groundwork toward understanding the biology underlying how musicality relates to other health traits," said co-senior author Lea Davis, associate professor of Medicine."
23andMe's large research dataset provided study data from more than 600,000 customers who consented to participate in the research allowing researchers to identify genetic alleles that vary in association with participants' beat synchronization ability.
According to David Hinds, PhD, a research fellow and statistical geneticist at 23andMe, "the enormous number of consenting study participants presented a unique chance for our group to collect even minor genetic signals." The scientific understanding of the relationships between genetics and musicality has advanced thanks to these discoveries.

Research associate professor and study's first author Maria Niarchou, PhD, stated the findings "established new linkages between the genetic and neurological architecture of musical rhythm, thus expanding our understanding of how our genomes tune our brains to the beat of the music." (ANI)