Evaluation of FOXP2 as an autism susceptibility gene

Thomas H. Wassink, Joseph Piven, Veronica J. Vieland, Jennifer Pietila, Rhinda J. Goedken, Susan E. Folstein, Val C. Sheffield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


A mutation in the gene FOXP2 was recently identified as being responsible for a complicated speech and language phenotype in a single large extended pedigree. This gene is of interest to autism because it lies in one of the most consistently linked autism chromosomal regions of interest. We therefore tested this gene for its involvement in autism in a large sample of autism families. We completely sequenced the exon containing the mutation, screened the remaining coding sequence using SSCP technology, and identified and genotyped two novel intronic tetranucleotide repeat polymorphisms that were then analyzed for evidence of linkage and linkage disequilibrium (LD). We identified two families in which heterozygous deletions of a small number of glutamines in a long poly-glutamine stretch were found in one parent and the autistic probands; no other non-conservative coding sequence changes were identified. Linkage and LD analyses were performed in 75 affected sibling pair families and in two subgroups of this sample defined by the presence/absence of severe language impairment. One allele appeared to have an opposite pattern of transmission in the language based subgroups, but otherwise the linkage and LD analyses were negative. We conclude that FOXP2 is unlikely to contribute significantly to autism susceptibility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)566-569
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Medical Genetics - Neuropsychiatric Genetics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 8 2002


  • Chromosome 7
  • Forkhead
  • Linkage
  • Linkage disequilibrium
  • Specific language impairment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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