Tourette syndrome (TS) is a model neuropsychiatric disorder thought to arise from abnormal development and/or maintenance of cortico-striato-thalamo-cortical circuits. TS is highly heritable, but its underlying genetic causes are still elusive, and no genome-wide significant loci have been discovered to date. We analyzed a European ancestry sample of 2,434 TS cases and 4,093 ancestry-matched controls for rare (< 1% frequency) copy-number variants (CNVs) using SNP microarray data. We observed an enrichment of global CNV burden that was prominent for large (> 1 Mb), singleton events (OR = 2.28, 95% CI [1.39-3.79], p = 1.2 × 10-3) and known, pathogenic CNVs (OR = 3.03 [1.85-5.07], p = 1.5 × 10-5). We also identified two individual, genome-wide significant loci, each conferring a substantial increase in TS risk (NRXN1 deletions, OR = 20.3, 95% CI [2.6-156.2]; CNTN6 duplications, OR = 10.1, 95% CI [2.3-45.4]). Approximately 1% of TS cases carry one of these CNVs, indicating that rare structural variation contributes significantly to the genetic architecture of TS.
Keywords: CNTN6; NRXN1; Tourette Syndrome; copy number variation; genetics; neurodevelopmental disorders; structural variation; tic disorders.
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