Autism and ADHD – The Genetic Overlap

The genetic overlap of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autistic spectrum disorder.


Autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are classified as distinct disorders within the DSM-IV-TR (1994). The manual excludes simultaneous use of both diagnoses in case of overlap on a symptomatic level.

However this does not always represent clinical observations and findings of previous studies. This review explores the genetic basis of the phenomenological overlap between ADHD and ASD.

Based on an extensive review of twin-, linkage-, association studies, and reported structural genomic abnormalities associated with these disorders, we have identified seventeen regions on the human genome that can be related to both disorders.

These regions of shared genetic association are: 2q35, 3p14, 4p16.1, 4p16.3, 5p15.31, 5p15.33, 7p12.3, 7p22, 7q21, 8q24.3, 14q12, 15q11-12, 16p13, 17q11, 18q21-23, 22q11.2, Xp22.3.

The presented data are of interest for future genetic studies and appear to suggest the existence of a phenotype partition that may differ from the current classification of psychiatric disorders.

This entry was posted in Autism, co-morbid, Genetics, Treatment. Bookmark the permalink.

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