Modeling familial predictors of proband outcomes in neurogenetic disorders: initial application in XYY syndrome

J Neurodev Disord. 2021 Mar 22;13(1):12. doi: 10.1186/s11689-021-09360-7.


Background: Disorders of gene dosage can significantly increase risk for psychopathology, but outcomes vary greatly amongst carriers of any given chromosomal aneuploidy or sub-chromosomal copy number variation (CNV). One potential path to advance precision medicine for neurogenetic disorders is modeling penetrance in probands relative to observed phenotypes in their non-carrier relatives. Here, we seek to advance this general analytic framework by developing new methods in application to XYY syndrome-a sex chromosome aneuploidy that is known to increase risk for psychopathology.

Methods: We analyzed a range of cognitive and behavioral domains in XYY probands and their non-carrier family members (n = 58 families), including general cognitive ability (FSIQ), as well as continuous measures of traits related to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Proband and relative scores were compared using covariance, regression and cluster analysis. Comparisons were made both within and across traits.

Results: Proband scores were shifted away from family scores with effect sizes varying between 0.9 and 2.4 across traits. Only FSIQ and vocabulary scores showed a significant positive correlation between probands and their non-carrier relatives across families (R2 ~ 0.4). Variability in family FSIQ also cross-predicted variability in proband ASD trait severity. Cluster analysis across all trait-relative pairings revealed that variability in parental psychopathology was more weakly coupled to their XYY versus their euploid offspring.

Conclusions: We present a suite of generalizable methods for modeling variable penetrance in aneuploidy and CNV carriers using family data. These methods update estimates of phenotypic penetrance for XYY and suggest that the predictive utility of family data is likely to vary for different traits and different gene dosage disorders.

Trial registrations: NCT00001246 , "89-M-0006: Brain Imaging of Childhood Onset Psychiatric Disorders, Endocrine Disorders and Healthy Controls." Date of registry: 01 October 1989.

Keywords: Copy number variants; Modeling penetrance; Neurogenetic disorders; Precision psychiatry; Sex chromosome aneuploidies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • DNA Copy Number Variations
  • Family
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sex Chromosome Disorders*
  • XYY Karyotype*
  • Young Adult

Supplementary concepts

  • 47, XYY syndrome

Associated data