Previous research has shown that fine motor control (MC) performance, measured with a computerized task, was less accurate in children with ADHD and in their unaffected siblings, compared to healthy children. This might indicate a shared genetic etiology between MC and ADHD; it was therefore suggested that MC could serve as endophenotype for ADHD. We examined the association between ADHD symptoms (AS) and MC in a genetically informative design that can distinguish between a genetic and a nongenetic familial etiology for the association. Participants were 12-year-old twins and their siblings (N = 409). AS were rated on a continuous scale with the Strengths and Weaknesses of ADHD and Normal behavior scale (SWAN). MC accuracy and stability was measured with the computerized pursuit task of the Amsterdam Neuropsychological Tasks (ANT). Analyses were performed with Structural Equation Modelling. AS were weakly associated with MC accuracy of the left and right hand (r =-.10/-.10). No association with MC stability was found (r =-.01/-.03). AS were highly heritable (75%), while MC accuracy of the right hand and MC stability showed no genetic influences. For MC accuracy of the left hand, variance was explained by genetic (10%), common environmental (23%), and unique environmental variances. The association between MC accuracy of the left hand and AS was explained by a shared genetic influence but the genetic correlation was low (r =-.14). The phenotypic and genetic associations between AS and computerized MC were weak, suggesting that fine MC is not a proper endophenotype for ADHD.

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Child Neuropsychology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Polderman, T.J.C, van Dongen, J, & Boomsma, D.I. (2011). The relation between ADHD symptoms and fine motor control: A genetic study. Child Neuropsychology, 17(2), 138–150. doi:10.1080/09297049.2010.518142