Searching for the genetic links to ADHD risk

adhd Brad Wilson a f b b d ea d
Image credit: Brad Wilson

If you have ADHD, chances are higher that your siblings do, too. Estimates differ as to how strong the connection is, but the arrows point in the same direction: genetics helps determine someone’s risk for ADHD. Beyond that, we still have myriad questions and not many answers.

Geneticist Ditte Demontis and her colleagues used data from more than 20,000 people with ADHD, comparing them to a control group of 35,000 people without an ADHD diagnosis. They found 304 points where tiny differences in DNA—like single letter swaps—were distributed across their two groups in a statistically telling way. If any of those variants were very close together, the researchers counted them as representing the same stretch of DNA, grouping them together into 12 important regions.

Related article:  Combining acoustic waves and CRISPR to create gene therapies for cancer and genetic disorders

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There were correlations between the genetic risk for ADHD and a range of other conditions, including depression and anorexia. That ties in with the idea that genetic variation might be important in a way that plays out system-wide. Some of the genes they identified are also known to be involved in other neurological conditions, including speech and learning disabilities, depression, and schizophrenia.

This research is light-years away from anything that will immediately affect people with ADHD—like a genetic test or a medication. But that doesn’t make it useless. It’s just creating routes for additional research, rather than practical application.

Read full, original post: Large genetic study finds first genes connected with ADHD

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