Genetics of Attention

While the genetics of attention has not been widely studied in normal humans, there have been numerous studies of how genetics influences attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a highly heritable neurodevelopmental disorder. Insights on ADHD may inform future research on the genetics of attention in healthy humans.

There are a number of candidate genes that may be involved in ADHD, discovered by GWAS studies. Future research should dive into dissecting out variants at these targets:

  • a copy-number variation (CNV) at PARK21
  • CHMP7, involved in endosomal sorting2,3
  • TNFRSF10D, invovled in preventing apoptosis2,3
  • TNFRSF10A, invovled in transducing cell death signals to start apoptosis2,3
  • LOXL2, invovled in generating connective tissue2,3
  • CDH13, encodes cadherin 13, which may act as a negative regular of nerve cell growth2,3,4,5
  • ASTN2, encodes astrotactin 2, a brain protein invovled in neuron-glia binding in the developing brain3,4,5
  • CTNNA2, encodes catenin alpha 2, which may regulate the stability of synaptic contacts3,4,5
  • KALRN, potentially involved in vesicle tracking in the the same protein for Huntington's (HD)3,4,5,6
  • PRKG13,7
  • FLNC3,7
  • TCERG1L3,7
  • PPM1H3,7
  • NXPH13,7
  • HK13,7
  • HKDC13,7
  • GRM53,8
  • CHRNA73,9
  • XKR43,10
  • FAM190A3,10
  • SLC9A93,11,12
  1. Jarick, I., Volckmar, A. L., Putter, C., Pechlivanis, S., Nguyen, T. T., Dauvermann, M. R., . . . Hinney, A. (2014). Genome-wide analysis of rare copy number variations reveals PARK2 as a candidate gene for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Mol Psychiatry, 19(1), 115-121. doi:10.1038/mp.2012.161

  2. Neale, B. M., Medland, S. E., Ripke, S., Asherson, P., Franke, B., Lesch, K. P., . . . Nelson, S. (2010). Meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry, 49(9), 884-897. doi:10.1016/j.jaac.2010.06.008

  3. Ashmore, Kathryn, and Feng Cheng. Genome-wide association studies on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder." Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology 3.1 (2013): 119."

  4. Franke, B., Neale, B. M., & Faraone, S. V. (2009). Genome-wide association studies in ADHD. Hum Genet, 126(1), 13-50. doi:10.1007/s00439-009-0663-4

  5. Lesch, K. P., Timmesfeld, N., Renner, T. J., Halperin, R., Roser, C., Nguyen, T. T., . . . Jacob, C. (2008). Molecular genetics of adult ADHD: converging evidence from genome-wide association and extended pedigree linkage studies. J Neural Transm (Vienna), 115(11), 1573-1585. doi:10.1007/s00702-008-0119-3

  6. Tsai, Y. C., Metzger, S., Riess, O., Soehn, A. S., & Nguyen, H. P. (2012). Genetic analysis of polymorphisms in the kalirin gene for association with age-at-onset in European Huntington disease patients. BMC Med Genet, 13, 48. doi:10.1186/1471-2350-13-48

  7. Neale, B. M., Medland, S., Ripke, S., Anney, R. J., Asherson, P., Buitelaar, J., . . . Biederman, J. (2010). Case-control genome-wide association study of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry, 49(9), 906-920. doi:10.1016/j.jaac.2010.06.007

  8. Hinney, A., Scherag, A., Jarick, I., Albayrak, O., Putter, C., Pechlivanis, S., . . . Hebebrand, J. (2011). Genome-wide association study in German patients with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet, 156b(8), 888-897. doi:10.1002/ajmg.b.31246

  9. Stergiakouli, E., Hamshere, M., Holmans, P., Langley, K., Zaharieva, I., Hawi, Z., . . . Thapar, A. (2012). Investigating the contribution of common genetic variants to the risk and pathogenesis of ADHD. Am J Psychiatry, 169(2), 186-194. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2011.11040551

  10. Neale, B. M., Lasky-Su, J., Anney, R., Franke, B., Zhou, K., Maller, J. B., . . . Faraone, S. V. (2008). Genome-wide association scan of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet, 147b(8), 1337-1344. doi:10.1002/ajmg.b.30866

  11. Lasky-Su, J., Anney, R. J., Neale, B. M., Franke, B., Zhou, K., Maller, J. B., . . . Faraone, S. V. (2008). Genome-wide association scan of the time to onset of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet, 147b(8), 1355-1358. doi:10.1002/ajmg.b.30869

  12. Mick, E., Todorov, A., Smalley, S., Hu, X., Loo, S., Todd, R. D., . . . Faraone, S. V. (2010). Family-based genome-wide association scan of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry, 49(9), 898-905.e893. doi:10.1016/j.jaac.2010.02.014

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