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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Announcement of the Fulker Award for a Paper Published in Behavior Genetics, Volume 41, 2011

The Fulker Award was established by the Behavior Genetics Association in memory of David Fulker, a past
President of the Association and Executive Editor of the journal, who died in 1998 (Hewitt 1998). The award is for‘a particularly meritorious paper’ published in the journal during the preceding year. The annual prize is $1000 ‘and a nice bottle of wine’ (given only when the recipient is present at the Association’s annual meeting.)

Volume 41 was another very impressive volume comprising 89 high quality peer reviewed papers. To select the paper for the Fulker award, I solicit nominations from the journal’s Associate Editors and follow their advice closely.

Nominated papers included Ceclia Aslund and colleagues’ study of Maltreatment, MAOA, and Delinquency finding sex differences in the direction of a gene-environment interaction in a large Swedish adolescent sample, Hermine Maes and colleagues’ paper on A Twin Association
Study of Nicotine Dependence with Markers in the
CHRNA3 and CHRNA5 Genes, Watanabe et al’s study of the role of a particular gustatory receptor in Drosophila sexual behavior, and Alice Moon-Fanelli’s report on studies of communicative behavior in Coyote-Beagle hybrids, published in the festschrift honoring Benson Ginsberg.

However, this year’s winner was a paper that reported on extensive and meticulous psychometric studies of heritable constructs underlying a general liability to externalizing behaviors, including substance use disorders and antisocial behavior. Based on the decades of data collection on twin, family, and adoption samples at the Minnesota Center for Twin and Family Research, Brian Hicks and his colleagues—
Benjamin Schalet, Stephen Malone, Bill Iacono,
and Matt McGue—provided a detailed and sophisticated empirical description and behavior genetic analysis of five intercorrelated intermediate level constructs that contribute
to the more general liability. This paper is part of an impressive program of research on these topics being lead by Bill Iacono and Matt McGue. Congratulations to Brian Hicks and his co-authors for their 2011 Fulker Award winning paper: Psychometric and genetic architecture of substance use disorder and behavioral disinhibition measures for gene association studies.

John K. Hewitt

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