Early language

Mastering language skills is an important milestone during development and influences children’s cognitive development in later life1. We have previously identified common variation near the ROBO2 gene as associated with word production during early infancy2. The knowledge on single genetic variant association with respect to early vocabulary is, however, still scarce. The EAGLE consortium is currently doing follow-up work to better understand how children learn to speak. In this study we aim to gain further insight into the genetic architecture of early expressive and receptive vocabulary by conducting a genome-wide association meta-analysis of expressive and receptive vocabulary during infancy and early childhood (15-38 months).

Participating cohorts

Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC)
Barwon Infant Study (BIS)
Copenhagen Prospective Studies on Asthma in Childhood (COPSAC)
Generation R (GenR)
Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC)
The Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort Study (Raine)
Twins Early Development Study (TEDS)


  1. Hohm, E., Jennen-Steinmetz, C., Schmidt, M. H. & Laucht, M. Language development at ten months. Predictive of language outcome and school achievement ten years later? Eur. Child Adolesc. Psychiatry 16, 149–56 (2007)
  2. St Pourcain, B. et al. Common variation near ROBO2 is associated with expressive vocabulary in infancy. Nat Commun 5, 4831 (2014).


Lead analyst: Ellen Verhoef (Ellen.Verhoef@mpi.nl)

Lead PI: Dr. Beate St Pourcain (Beate.StPourcain@mpi.nl)

Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen, the Netherlands



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