A large-scale twin study implicated genetic influences on borderline personality disorder (BPD) features, with a heritability estimate of 42%. To date, no genome-wide linkage study has been conducted to identify the genomic region(s) containing the quantitative trait loci that influence the manifestation of BPD features.
We conducted a family-based linkage study using Merlin regress. The participating families were drawn from the community-based Netherlands Twin Register. The sample consisted of 711 sibling pairs with phenotype and genotype data, and 561 additional parents with genotype data. BPD features were assessed on a quantitative scale.
Evidence for linkage was found on chromosomes 1, 4, 9, and 18. The highest linkage peak was found on chromosome 9p at marker D9S286 with a logarithm of odds score of 3.548 (empirical P=0.0001).
To our knowledge, this is the first linkage study on BPD features and shows that chromosome 9 is the richest candidate for genes influencing BPD. The results of this study will move the field closer to determining the genetic etiology of BPD and may have important implications for treatment programs in the future. Association studies in this region are, however, warranted to detect the actual genes.