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Keywords:

  • brain shape;
  • sexual dimorphism;
  • shape analysis

Abstract

The corpus callosum displays considerable morphological variability between individuals. Although some characteristics are thought to differ between male and female brains, there is no agreement regarding the source of this variation. Biomedical imaging and geometric morphometrics have provided tools to investigate shape and size variation in terms of integration and correlation. Here we analyze variations at the midsagittal outline of the corpus callosum in a sample of 102 young adults in order to describe and quantify the pattern of covariation associated with its morphology. Our results suggest that the shape of the corpus callosum is characterized by low levels of morphological integration, which explains the large variability. In larger brains, a minor allometric component involves a relative reduction of the splenium. Small differences between males and?females are associated with this allometric pattern, induced primarily by size variation rather than gender-specific characteristics.