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Am J Hum Genet. 1996 Sep;59(3):684-93.

Family study and segregation analysis of Tourette syndrome: evidence for a mixed model of inheritance.

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Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, USA.


To investigate the transmission of Tourette syndrome (TS) and associated disorders within families, complex segregation analysis was performed on family study data obtained from 53 independently ascertained children and adolescents with TS and their 154 first-degree relatives. The results suggest that the susceptibility for TS is conveyed by a major locus in combination with a multifactorial background. Other models of inheritance were definitively rejected, including strictly polygenic models, all single major locus models, and mixed models with dominant and recessive major loci. The frequency of the TS susceptibility allele was estimated to be .01. The major locus accounts for over half of the phenotypic variance for TS, whereas the multifactorial background accounts for approximately 40% of phenotypic variance. Penetrance estimates suggest that all individuals homozygous for the susceptibility allele at the major locus are affected, whereas only 2.2% of males and 0.3% of females heterozygous at the major locus are affected. Of individuals affected with TS, approximately 62% are heterozygous and approximately 38% are homozygous at the major locus. While none of the families had two parents affected with TS, 19% of families had two parents affected with the broader, phenotype, which includes TS, chronic tic disorder, or obsessive-compulsive disorder.

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