The OCD collaborative genetics study: Methods and sample description

Jack F. Samuels, Mark A. Riddle, Benjamin D. Greenberg, Abby J. Fyer, James T. McCracken, Scott L. Rauch, Dennis L. Murphy, Marco A. Grados, Anthony Pinto, James A. Knowles, John Piacentini, Paul A. Cannistraro, Bernadette Cullen, O. Joseph Bienvenu, Steven A. Rasmussen, David L. Pauls, Virginia L. Willour, Yin Y. Shugart, Kung Yee Liang, Rudolf Hoehn-SaricGerald Nestadt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Results from twin and family studies suggest that obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) may be transmitted in families but, to date, genes for the disorder have not been identified. The OCD Collaborative Genetics Study (OCGS) is a six-site collaborative genetic linkage study of OCD. Specimens and blinded clinical data will be made available through the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) cell repository. In this initial report, we describe the methods of the study and present clinical characteristics of affected individuals for researchers interested in this valuable resource for genetic studies of OCD. The project clinically evaluated and collected blood specimens from 238 families containing 299 OCD-affected sibling pairs and their parents, and additional affected relative pairs, for a genome-wide linkage study. Of the 999 individuals interviewed to date, 624 were diagnosed with "definite" OCD. The mean age of subjects was 36 years (range 7-95). The majority of affected individuals (66%) were female. The mean age at onset of obsessive-compulsive symptoms was 9.5 years. Specific mood disorders, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, and skin picking were more prevalent in female cases, whereas tics, Tourette disorder, and alcohol dependence were more prevalent in male cases. Compared to "definite" cases of OCD, "probable" cases (n = 82) had, on average, later age at onset of obsessive-compulsive symptoms, lower severity score, and fewer numbers of different categories of obsessions and compulsions, and they were less likely to have received treatment for their symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-207
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Medical Genetics - Neuropsychiatric Genetics
Volume141 B
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 5 2006


  • Genetic linkage
  • Genetics
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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