NOV 27, 2019 4:27 PM PST

ADHD and Autism Share the Same Genes

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

Autism and ADHD share many symptoms. In fact, up to 80% of people with autism also meet the diagnostic criteria for ADHD. Now, researchers from Denmark’s national psychiatric project, iPSYCH, have found that the similatities between the disorders doesn’t end there. From a comprehensive genetic analysis, they have found that they also share the same genetic mutations. 

The researchers were able to notice similarities between ADHD and autism by mapping out both genomes. In particular, they found the overlap when sequencing their exomes, the protein-coding regions of the genome, from dried blood samples taken from heel pricks during routine newborn screenings in Denmark. For the study, they analyzed samples taken from 3,962 people diagnosed with autism, 3,477 with ADHD, 901 with both conditions and 5,002 controls.

During their analysis, the researchers principly focused on truncating mutations in genes that are rarely present in the general population- a key sign that they may be harmful. In doing so, they found that these mutations are 1.4 times more frequent in those with autism and/or ADHD than control subjects. Supporting these findings, similar results were observed in two established cohorts of autistic people in the United States

Currently, the researchers are creating a list of mutated genes that occur among people with autism, ADHD, or both. So far, the most frequently mutated gene among people with the disorders is known as MAP1A gene. Mutated in 11 people with either or both conditions and none of the control subjects, the gene helps organize the cellular skeleton of neurons. 

Anders Børglum, principal investigator at iPSYCH and a professor at Aarhus University said, “We discovered an increased burden of mutations that destroy or severely affect the MAP1A gene in those with ADHD and autism, while very few of the control subjects had such changes in the gene."

Beate St. Pourcain, senior investigator at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen added, “This naturally begs the question (of) where the differences in the genetic architectures of (autism) and ADHD lie and whether the distinction between (autism) and ADHD is purely a genetic question after all.”


Sources: Medical Xpress and Spectrum News

 

About the Author
  • Science writer with keen interests in technology and behavioral biology. Her current focus is on the interplay between these fields to create meaningful interactions, applications and environments.
You May Also Like
OCT 27, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
A Super Sensitive Alzheimer's Test Powered by Nanozymes
OCT 27, 2020
A Super Sensitive Alzheimer's Test Powered by Nanozymes
  Simple tasks are now uphill struggles, social situations aren’t fun, and the car keys are missing again. By ...
NOV 08, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
Psychedelic Mushrooms Effectively Treat Major Depression
NOV 08, 2020
Psychedelic Mushrooms Effectively Treat Major Depression
Over 17 million people in the US and 300 million people worldwide are estimated to have experienced major depression. No ...
DEC 28, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
Anti-Diarrhea Drug Kills Aggressive Brain Cancer Cells
DEC 28, 2020
Anti-Diarrhea Drug Kills Aggressive Brain Cancer Cells
Glioblastoma is a very aggressive and lethal form of brain cancer that responds poorly to chemotherapy in children and a ...
JAN 05, 2021
Neuroscience
Synthetic Psychedelic Treats Depression Without Hallucinations
JAN 05, 2021
Synthetic Psychedelic Treats Depression Without Hallucinations
Psychedelics are receiving an increasing amount of attention- both in research and in the media- for their potential to ...
JAN 08, 2021
Neuroscience
Brain Scans Show Why Comedy-News Shows are More Memorable
JAN 08, 2021
Brain Scans Show Why Comedy-News Shows are More Memorable
Comedy-news shows such as those by Trevor Noah, John Oliver, and Samantha Bee on the rise and are especially popular amo ...
JAN 09, 2021
Cannabis Sciences
Over 50% on Medical Cannabis Experience Withdrawal Symptoms
JAN 09, 2021
Over 50% on Medical Cannabis Experience Withdrawal Symptoms
A new study has found that over half of people who use medical cannabis products for pain relief experience multiple wit ...
Loading Comments...