Investigation of quantitative measures related to reading disability in a large sample of sib-pairs from the UK

Angela J. Marlow*, Simon E. Fisher, Alex J. Richardson, Clyde Francks, Joel B. Talcott, Anthony P. Monaco, John F. Stein, Lon R. Cardon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We describe a family-based sample of individuals with reading disability collected as part of a quantitative trait loci (QTL) mapping study. Eighty-nine nuclear families (135 independent sib-pairs) were identified through a single proband using a traditional discrepancy score of predicted/actual reading ability and a known family history. Eight correlated psychometric measures were administered to each sibling, including single word reading, spelling, similarities, matrices, spoonerisms, nonword and irregular word reading, and a pseudohomophone test. Summary statistics for each measure showed a reduced mean for the probands compared to the co-sibs, which in turn was lower than that of the population. This partial co-sib regression back to the mean indicates that the measures are influenced by familial factors and therefore, may be suitable for a mapping study. The variance of each of the measures remained largely unaffected, which is reassuring for the application of a QTL approach. Multivariate genetic analysis carried out to explore the relationship between the measures identified a common factor between the reading measures that accounted for 54% of the variance. Finally the familiality estimates (range 0.32-0.73) obtained for the reading measures including the common factor (0.68) supported their heritability. These findings demonstrate the viability of this sample for QTL mapping, and will assist in the interpretation of any subsequent linkage findings in an ongoing genome scan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-230
Number of pages12
JournalBehavior Genetics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2001

Bibliographical note

Funding: This research was funded by the Wellcome Trust. A.P.M. is a Wellcome Trust
Principal Research Fellow. A.J.R. is funded by the Dyslexia Research Trust. LRC was supported by the Wellcome Trust and grant EY-12562 from the NIH.


  • Dyslexia
  • Familiality
  • Heritability
  • Sib-pair


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