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Clin Genet. 2011 Apr;79(4):355-62. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-0004.2010.01471.x.

Autism severity is associated with child and maternal MAOA genotypes.

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Department of Psychology, NYS Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities, 1050 Forest Hill Road, Staten Island, NY 10314, USA.


Autism severity is associated with child and maternal MAOA genotypes. We replicated and extended a previously reported association between autism severity and a functional polymorphism in the monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) promoter region, MAOA-uVNTR, in a sample of 119 males, aged 2-13 years, with autism spectrum disorder from simplex families. We demonstrated that (i) boys with the low activity 3-repeat MAOA allele had more severe sensory behaviors, arousal regulation problems, and aggression, and worse social communication skills than males with the high activity allele; and (ii) problems with aggression, as well as with fears and rituals, were modified by the mothers' genotype. Boys with the 4-repeat high activity allele who had homozygous 4-repeat mothers showed increased severity of these behaviors relative to those born to heterozygous mothers. These findings indicate the importance of considering maternal genotype in examining associations of MAOA and other genes with behavior in male offspring.

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