Motor Milestones

As part of the Genetics of Early Milestones and Skills (GEMS) study, we are conducting a meta-genome-wide association study on gross and fine motor milestones and skills in the three years of life. We will analyse data across multiple world-renowned cohorts. Following this gene discovery stage, we will examine the functional role of these genetic variants.

Motor milestones refer to learning to perform movements that involve whole-body (“gross motor”, like walking independently) and upper limbs (“fine motor”, like stacking small blocks). Motor milestones can be observed at universal age-related stages in typically developing children. Delay in achieving motor milestones and early gross and fine motor atypicalities are considered reliable clinical indicators that precede the emergence of some neurodevelopmental disorders1–3.


  1. Licari, M. K. et al. Prevalence of Motor Difficulties in Autism Spectrum Disorder: Analysis of a Population-Based Cohort. Autism Res. 13, 298–306 (2020).
  2. Shephard, E. et al. Systematic Review and Meta-analysis: The Science of Early-Life Precursors and Interventions for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. J. Am. Acad. Child Adolesc. Psychiatry (2021). doi:10.1016/j.jaac.2021.03.016
  3. Bhat, A. N. Motor Impairment Increases in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder as a Function of Social Communication, Cognitive and Functional Impairment, Repetitive Behavior Severity, and Comorbid Diagnoses: A SPARK Study Report. Autism Res. 14, 202–219 (2021).


Lead analyst: Dr. Anna Gui

Lead PI: Prof. Angelica Ronald

Co-I: Prof Mark Johnson

Collaborators include Ms Anja Hollowell, Prof. Frank Dudbridge, Dr. Tomoki Arichi, Dr. Alexandra Havdahl, Dr. Elise Robinson, the EAGLE consortium


Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI) Award


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