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The contribution of de novo and ultra-rare genetic variants in severe and moderate intellectual disability (ID) has been extensively studied whereas the genetic architecture of mild ID has been less well characterized. To elucidate the genetic background of milder ID we studied a regional cohort of 442 ID patients enriched for mild ID (>50%) from a population isolate of Finland. We analyzed rare variants using exome sequencing and CNV genotyping and common variants using common variant polygenic risk scores. As controls we used a Finnish collection of exome sequenced (n=11311) and GWAS chip genotyped (n=11699) individuals. We show that rare damaging variants in genes known to be associated with cognitive defects are observed more often in severe (27%) than in mild ID (13%) patients (p-value: 7.0e-4). We further observed a significant enrichment of protein truncating variants in loss-of-function intolerant genes, as well as damaging missense variants in genes not yet associated with cognitive defects (OR: 2.1, p-value: 3e-8). For the first time to our knowledge, we show that a common variant polygenic load significantly contributes to all severity forms of ID. The heritability explained was the highest for educational attainment (EDU) in mild ID explaining 2.2% of the heritability on liability scale. For more severe ID it was lower at 0.6%. Finally, we identified a homozygote variant in the CRADD gene to be a cause of a specific syndrome with ID and pachygyria. The frequency of this variant is 50x higher in the Finnish population than in non-Finnish Europeans, demonstrating the benefits of utilizing population isolates in rare variant analysis of diseases under negative selection.

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