Basic research into the genetics of childhood psychiatric disorders has substantially increased during the last two decades. Specific genetic mutations have been characterized in some developmental disorders (e.g., fragile X syndrome and Prader-Willi syndrome), but thus far identification of etiological gene mutations in psychiatric illnesses has been unsuccessful. Several psychiatric disorders serve as examples of the current state of molecular approaches in child psychopathology. Investigations to date of Gilles de la Tourette’s syndrome (GTS) have not resulted in the discovery of a gene of major effect. Some studies have implicated the D2 and D4 dopamine receptors as having a direct role in the etiology of GTS, but other studies have disputed those findings. However, the dopamine D2 receptor may modulate the severity of GTS. Obsessive-compulsive disorder has a reported association with a lowactivity allele of the enzyme catechol-O-methyltransferase; however, the low-activity genotype is also seen in a significant proportion of unaffected individuals. For reading disability two distinct phenotypes (phonological awareness and single-word reading) have been linked to separate loci on chromosomes 6 and 15. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has a reported association with the dopamine transporter. Findings of a genetic locus for the personality trait of novelty seeking remain controversial.
Alsobrook, John P. II and Pauls, David L.
"Molecular Approaches to Child Psychopathology,"
2, Article 14.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/humbiol/vol70/iss2/14