Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and reading disability (RD) frequently co-occur in the child population and therefore raise the possibility of shared genetic etiology. We used a quantitative trait loci (QTL) approach to assess the involvement of the dopamine transporter (DAT1) gene polymorphism in mediating reading disability and poor attention in a general population sample of primary school children aged 6-11 years in the UK. The potential confounding effects of IQ and chronological age were also investigated. We found an independent association between the homozygous DAT1 10/10 repeat genotype and RD that was not accounted for by the level of ADHD symptoms. This finding suggests that the DAT1 gene polymorphism may influence a common neural mechanism underlying both reading acquisition and ADHD symptoms.