Behavioural genetics is the study of the interaction between the genetic and environmental influences to produce a trait. A specific focus is using genetic methods to study the aetiology of individual differences in behaviour.

Research focus

This research group focuses on the influence of neurotransmitter systems and their underlying genes on behaviour in humans and animals.

Current projects

Three main research projects focusing predominantly (but not exclusively) on the neurotransmitter system Serotonin is currently running:

  • Functioning of the serotonin system in male juvenile delinquents.For this project, collaboration with two schools have been established and sampling is currently underway.
  • Investigating the horse (Equus caballus) genome and abnormal behaviour.For this project, collaboration with a highly recognised horse trainer in Bloemfontein has been established.With this collaboration, behavioural quantification will be developed and verified, as well as systematic analysis of the horse genome related to specific behaviours.
  • A computer simulated machine learning application is currently under development to simulate the functioning of the specific serotonin genes in the prefrontal cortex of humans.An outcome of this simulation is to illustrate how serotonin stimulants (e.g. Psilocin from Psilocybin producing mushrooms) will affect the downstream regulation of the system in silica.


Elfrieda van den Berg (Marketing Manager)
T: +27 51 401 2531


Dilahlwane Mohono (Faculty Officer)
T: +27 58 718 5284

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