Genetic basis of attention deficit and hyperactivity

A Thapar, J Holmes, K Poulton, R Harrington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Hyperkinetic disorder or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is an important clinical condition.

AIMS: The research evidence for a genetic contribution to ADHD is reviewed.

METHOD: Measurement of the phenotype, the extent to which attention deficit and hyperactivity are heritable and molecular genetic findings are discussed. Future research directions are also considered.

RESULTS: ADHD is a familial disorder. Available adoption evidence suggests genetic influences are important. Twin studies have primarily focused on trait measures which have consistently been found to be highly heritable Molecular genetic studies of clinical disorder so far have suggested the involvement of the dopamine DRD-4 receptor gene and dopamine transporter gene (DAT1). However, these findings await further replication.

CONCLUSIONS: Advances in psychiatric genetics and current research interest in the genetics of ADHD should improve our understanding of aetiological factors and have an impact on treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-11
Number of pages7
JournalThe British journal of psychiatry : the journal of mental science
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1999


  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Comorbidity
  • Dopamine Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Pedigree
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2
  • Receptors, Dopamine D4
  • Twin Studies as Topic
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review


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