Asperger disorder (ASP) is one of the autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and is differentiated from autism largely on the absence of clinically significant cognitive and language delays. Analysis of a homogenous subset of families with ASP may help to address the corresponding effect of genetic heterogeneity on identifying ASD genetic risk factors. To examine the hypothesis that common variation is important in ASD, we performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) in 124 ASP families in a discovery data set and 110 ASP families in a validation data set. We prioritized the top 100 association results from both cohorts by employing a ranking strategy. Novel regions on 5q21.1 (P = 9.7 × 10(-7) ) and 15q22.1-q22.2 (P = 7.3 × 10(-6) ) were our most significant findings in the combined data set. Three chromosomal regions showing association, 3p14.2 (P = 3.6 × 10(-6) ), 3q25-26 (P = 6.0 × 10(-5) ) and 3p23 (P = 3.3 × 10(-4) ) overlapped linkage regions reported in Finnish ASP families, and eight association regions overlapped ASD linkage areas. Our findings suggest that ASP shares both ASD-related genetic risk factors, as well as has genetic risk factors unique to the ASP phenotype.
Copyright © 2010, International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.