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INTRODUCTION. In spite of the high initial expectancy in preliminary results concerning the genetics of personality, these studies have not provided satisfactory results. The failure could be related to the lack of biological validity of personality concept and the important influence of environmental factors on personality. A possible way to solve this problem is to look at the temperament of preschool children. It is expected that variability in infants’ behaviour can be better defined and with less environmental influence. DEVELOPMENT. Firstly, twin and adoption studies of child temperament in comparison with the studies of personality in adults are reviewed. Secondly, the molecular association studies carried out concerning child temperament are analyzed. The serotonin transporter gene (5-HTT), D4 receptor gene (DRD4) and mono amino oxidade-A gene (MAOA) have been considered candidates to explain variability in child temperament because these genes have been related with specific personality dimensions and mental diseases. Finally, the methodological problems and the future direction of research in this field are considered.