Gene-Environment Interactions Across Development: Exploring DRD2 Genotype and Prenatal Smoking Effects on Self-Regulation

Sandra A. Wiebe, Kimberly Andrews Espy, Christian Stopp, Jennifer Respass, Peter Stewart, Travis R. Jameson, David G. Gilbert, Jodi I. Huggenvik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Genetic factors dynamically interact with both pre- and postnatal environmental influences to shape development. Considerable attention has been devoted to gene-environment interactions (G × E) on important outcomes (A. Caspi & T. E. Moffitt, 2006). It is also important to consider the possibility that these G × E effects may vary across development, particularly for constructs like self-regulation that emerge slowly, depend on brain regions that change qualitatively in different developmental periods, and thus may be manifested differently. To illustrate one approach to exploring such developmental patterns, the relation between variation in the TaqIA polymorphism, related to D 2 dopamine receptor expression and availability, and prenatal exposure to tobacco was examined in two exploratory studies. First, in 4-week-old neonates, genotype-exposure interactions were observed for attention and irritable reactivity, but not for stress dysregulation. Second, in preschool children, genotype was related to Preschool Trail Making Test (K. A. Espy and M. F. Cwik, 2004) task performance on conditions requiring executive control; children with both the A1+ genotype and a history of prenatal tobacco exposure displayed disproportionately poor performance. Despite study limitations, these results illustrate the importance of examining the interplay between genetic and prenatal environmental factors across development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-44
Number of pages14
JournalDevelopmental Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009


  • dopamine receptor genes
  • gene-environment interactions
  • prenatal smoking
  • self-regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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