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Researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) investigated the genetic differences between African Americans and Caucasian Americans with ADHD. African Americans possess more complex genomes than Caucasian Americans, prompting researchers to examine the coding and non-coding regions of the genomes in both groups. These genetic differences could play a role in ADHD presentation and  how patients respond to treatment.

The study included 875 participants, 205 of which had been diagnosed with ADHD, and 670 of which were non-ADHD control subjects. There were 116 African American ADHD subjects and 408 African American non-ADHD subjects. The research team generated whole-genome sequence data on all study participants.

Prior to the study, researchers confirmed several genetic structural variants and target genes seen in patients with ADHD and identified 40 novel variants. A cluster of structural variants in the non-coding region of pathways was found to be highly relevant in the development of ADHD. Only a 6% overlap was found in the genes impacted by single nucleotide variants between African Americans and Caucasian Americans.

In conclusion, genetic differences exist between African Americans and Caucasian Americans with ADHD. Further studies are needed to determine how these genetic differences affect patient susceptibility to ADHD and which treatment plans should be implemented [1].


[1] ADHD study reveals unique genetic differences in African American patients. (2020, September 22). EurekAlert! https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-09/chop-asr092220.php

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