Molecular Genetic Studies of GTS and ADHD
Comings and others (see, for example. Comings et al., 1996) have reported associations with other dopamine receptors. These findings have not been replicated by other investigators. Results from association studies, using a case-control paradigm, are difficult to interpret, and have been shown to be particularly susceptible to false positive results due to population stratification (Gelernter, Goldman, & Risch. 1993).
As described elsewhere in this volume (Barr. Swanson, & Kennedy. Chapter 10), there have been several studies of ADHD in which associations have been reported with several different genes. One such association has been reported for the “7” allele of DRD4 receptor gene. This allele has also been reported to be associated with GTS (Grice et al.. 1996). The association was observed in only three small nuclear families that were part of several large multigenerational families, and has not been replicated in other more representative samples (Hebebrand et al., 1997; van de Wetering, personal communication).
In sum, although the neuropsychological data suggest some similarities between GTS and ADHD, there is no compelling data to support the hypothesis that there is a genetic relationship between GTS and ADHD.
Neither the family data nor the molecular genetic data provide convincing evidence for a simple genetic relationship. As noted, more data collected in a prospective longitudinal way are needed to examine more completely the aetiological relationship between these two interesting and complex disorders of childhood.
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