DNA Findings in Children With ADHD Suggest Genetic CauseLast Updated: September 30, 2010. Children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder appear to have an increased rate of large, rare chromosomal deletions and duplications, known as copy number variants, that have been implicated previously in autism and schizophrenia, according to a study published online Sept. 30 in The Lancet.
THURSDAY, Sept. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) appear to have an increased rate of large, rare chromosomal deletions and duplications, known as copy number variants (CNVs), that have been implicated previously in autism and schizophrenia, according to a study published online Sept. 30 in The Lancet.
Nigel M. Williams, Ph.D., of the Cardiff University School of Medicine in the United Kingdom, and colleagues performed genome-wide analyses of 410 children, aged 5 to 17 years, with ADHD and 1,156 ethnically-matched controls from the 1958 British Birth Cohort. The researchers genotyped single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and assessed the presence and loci of CNVs in children with ADHD compared to controls.
The researchers found that children with ADHD were more likely than controls to have large rare CNVs, suggesting ADHD is a genetic neurodevelopmental disorder. There was a significant overlap in the ADHD group for CNVs that are also linked to autism and schizophrenia, suggesting a common biological cause for the similar symptoms of autism and ADHD. An excess of chromosome 16p13.11 duplications was found in the ADHD group. The researchers also found that the increased rate of CNVs was especially high in subjects with intellectual disability.
"Children with ADHD have a significantly higher rate of missing or duplicated DNA segments compared to other children and we have seen a clear genetic link between these segments and other brain disorders," Williams said in a statement. "These findings give us tantalizing clues to the changes that can lead to ADHD."
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