Association of DRD4 with attention problems in normal childhood development.
Several previous studies found an association of clinically diagnosed attention deficit hyperactivity disorder with long alleles of a variation in the DRD4 dopamine receptor gene exon III coding sequence. We evaluated the DRD4 polymorphism in a non-clinically selected sample of children for whom maternal reports of attention problems were available at 4 and 7 years of age. There was a significant elevation in attention problem scores in children carrying DRD4 long alleles that accounted for 3-4% of total variation at each age and for 5-7% of the temporally stable component of the phenotype. Our results show that the DRD4 gene influences normal as well as pathological attention processes, and the results highlight the utility of longitudinal measurements in psychiatric genetics.