A little bit of spit can help us make a healthier world!
Your genes and the environment around you help to shape your physical and mental well-being.
Spit for Science 2
We are inviting 30,000 children and adolescents visiting the Ontario Science Centre (OSC) to become Junior Scientists as part of research project called Spit for Science.
We will ask our Junior Scientists and their parents to complete questionnaires about behaviour (the way you act), play a computer game to understand cognition (the way you think), as well as physical health and well-being. Using Postal Codes, we can estimate many different aspects of your environment (e.g., how close you live to green space or exposure to air pollution). Finally, we will ask our Junior Scientists to spit in a small tube so that we can collect DNA and swab their tongue to get info about bacteria in their mouths!
We can discover how your genes work with the environment to impact your mental and physical health. Our aim is to recruit a sample of 30,000 children and adolescents from the community to further the understanding the etiology of childhood mental and physical health. In genetic research, we need as many people as possible.
This study is a continuation of Spit for Science 1 that ran at the Ontario Science Centre in 2008-2009. Spit for Science 2 will expand on Spit for Science 1 in four important ways, by:
Recruiting 30,000 new participants;
Adding new measures of behaviour and cognition (error detection and sustained attention);
Estimating environmental risks using geospatial mapping of postal codes;
Exploring gene X environment interactions across aspects of children and youth mental and physical health;
Looking at how the oral microbiome (bacteria in our mouths) might affect how we think and feel
Interested in participating?
Visit us at the Ontario Science Centre!
You can participate in Spit for Science if you:
Are/or have a child between the ages of 6-17 years of age
In light of current events, Spit for Science has paused all activities at the Ontario Science Centre.
We look forward to seeing you soon!
Spit for Science 1
In Spit for Science 1, which ran at the OSC for 16 months between 2008-2009, we collected DNA, mental health information, behavioural and cognitive trait (response inhibition) measures in >17,000 youth. A large subset of the sample has currently has genome-wide microarray data.
Highlights of our results from Spit for Science 1 include:
The first replicated genome-wide significant risk loci for obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) traits (Burton et al. in prep)
The first study of copy number variants (CNVs) associated with mental health and cognitive traits in the general pediatric population (Zarrei et al., in prep)
Demonstrated that genetic risk for clinically diagnosed ADHD are associated with ADHD traits measured in the community (Burton et al., 2018)
Mapped the development of response inhibition and error processing across development (Crosbie et al., 2013; Dupuis et al., 2018)
Established the heritability of several mental health traits in the general population (Crosbie et al., 2013; Burton et al. 2018)
Data Access & Collaboration
To access data from Spit for Science 1, contact Christie Burton. Data will soon be available through The Hospital for Sick Children Healthy Kids Biobank. Spit for Science samples are screened for medical and psychiatric conditions and have been used several times as healthy controls for genetic analyses.
Sinopoli, V., Erdman, L., Burton, C.L., Easter, P., Rajendram, R., Baldwin, G., Peterman, K., Coste, J., Shaheen, S-M, Hanna, G.L., Rosenberg, D.R. & Arnold, P.D. Serotonin system gene variants and CSTC brain volume differences in pediatric OCD. Brain Imaging and Behavior. *In press
Burton, C.L., Wright, L., Shan, J., Xiao, B., Dupuis, A., Goodale, T., Shaheen, S-M, Corfield, E.C., Arnold. P.D., Schachar, R.J., & Crosbie, J. (2019). SWAN Scale for ADHD Trait-Based Genetic Research: A Validity and Polygenic Risk Study. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jcpp.13032. PubMed
Burton, C.L.*, Park, L.S*, Corfield, E.C., Forget-Dubois, N., Dupuis, A., Sinopoli, V.M., Shan, J., Goodale, T., Shaheen, S-M, Crosbie, J., Schachar, R.J., Arnold. P.D. Factor Structure and Heritability of Obsessive-Compulsive Traits in Children and Adolescents in the General Population. Translational Psychiatry, 8, 191 (*co-1st authors). PubMed
Dupuis, A, Indralingam, M., Chevrier, A. Crosbie, J., Arnold, P., Burton, C.L., Schachar, R. Response time adjustment in the Stop Signal Task: development in children and adolescents. Child Development, doi: 10.1111/cdev.13062 [epub ahead of print]. PubMed
van der Plas E., Dupuis A., Arnold P., Crosbie J., Schachar R. (2016). Association of Autism Spectrum Disorder with Obsessive-Compulsive and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Traits and Response Inhibition in a Community Sample. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 46(9), 3115-3125. PubMed
Park, L., Burton, C.L., Dupuis, A., Shan, J., Storch, E., Crosbie, J., Schachar, R., Arnold, P.D. (2016). The Toronto Obsessive-Compulsive Scale: Psychometrics of a Dimensional Measure of Obsessive-Compulsive Traits. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 55, 310-318. PubMed
Panjwani N., Wilson M. D., Addis L., Crosbie J., Wirrell E., Auvin S., Caraballo R. H., Kinali M., McCormick D., Oren C., Taylor J., Trounce J., Clarke T., Akman C.I., Kugler S.L., Mandelbaum D. E., McGoldrick P., Wolf S. M., Arnold P., Schachar R., Pal D. K., & Strug L. J. (2016). A microRNA-328 binding site in PAX6 is associated with centrotemporal spikes of rolandic epilepsy. Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology, 2;3(7):512-22. PubMed
Burton, C.L., Crosbie, J., Dupuis, A., Mathews, C.A., Soreni, N., Schachar, R., Arnold, P.D. (2016). Clinical Correlates of Hoarding with and without Comorbid Obsessive-Compulsive Symptoms in a Community Pediatric Sample. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 55, 114-121. PubMed
Crosbie, J., Arnold, P., Paterson, A., Swanson, J., Dupuis, A., Li, X., Shan, J., Goodale, T., Tam, C., Strug, L. J., & Schachar, R. J. (2013). Response Inhibition and ADHD Traits: Correlates and Heritability in a Community Sample. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 41(3), 497–507. PubMed