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ERIC Number: EJ944565
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Sep
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0890-8567
Twin Studies and Their Implications for Molecular Genetic Studies: Endophenotypes Integrate Quantitative and Molecular Genetics in ADHD Research
Wood, Alexis C.; Neale, Michael C.
Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, v49 n9 p874-883 Sep 2010
Objective: To describe the utility of twin studies for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) research and demonstrate their potential for the identification of alternative phenotypes suitable for genomewide association, developmental risk assessment, treatment response, and intervention targets. Method: Brief descriptions of the classic twin study and genetic association study methods are provided, with illustrative findings from ADHD research. "Biometrical genetics" refers to the statistical modeling of data gathered from one or more group of known biological relation; it was apparently coined by Francis Galton in the 1860s and led to the "Biometrical School" at the University of London. Twin studies use genetic correlations between pairs of relatives, derived using this theoretical framework, to parse the individual differences in a trait into latent (unmeasured) genetic and environmental influences. This method enables the estimation of heritability, i.e., the percentage of variance due to genetic influences. It is usually implemented with a method called "structural equation modeling," which is a statistical technique for fitting models to data, typically using maximum likelihood estimation. Genetic association studies aim to identify those genetic variants that account for the heritability estimated in twin studies. Measurements other than those used for the clinical diagnosis of the disorder are popular phenotype choices in current ADHD research. It is argued that twin studies have great potential to refine phenotypes relevant to ADHD. Results: Prior studies have consistently found that the majority of the variance in ADHD symptoms is due to genetic factors. To date, genomewide association studies of ADHD have not identified replicable associations that account for the heritable variation. Possibly, the application of genomewide association studies to these alternative phenotypic measurements will assist in identifying the pathways from genetic variants to ADHD. Conclusion: Power to detect associations should be improved by the study of highly heritable endophenotypes for ADHD and by reducing the number of phenotypes to be considered. Therefore, twin studies are an important research tool in the development of endophenotypes, defined as alternative, more highly heritable traits that act at earlier stages of the pathway from genes to behavior. Although genetic variation in liability to ADHD is likely polygenic, the proposed approach should help to identify improved alternative measurements for genetic association studies. (Contains 2 figures.)
Elsevier. 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, FL 32887-4800. Tel: 877-839-7126; Tel: 407-345-4020; Fax: 407-363-1354; e-mail: usjcs@elsevier.com; Web site: http://www.elsevier.com
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (England)