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Open Access Highly Accessed Editorial

The genetic basis of mood and anxiety disorders – changing paradigms

Elisabeth B Binder

Author affiliations

Max-Planck Institute of Psychiatry, Munich Germany and Dept. of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA, USA

Citation and License

Biology of Mood & Anxiety Disorders 2012, 2:17  doi:10.1186/2045-5380-2-17

Published: 1 October 2012

Abstract

Family, twin and epidemiologic studies all point to an important genetic contribution to the risk to develop mood and anxiety disorders. While some progress has been made in identifying relevant pathomechanisms for these disorders, candidate based strategies have often yielded controversial findings. Hopes were thus high when genome-wide genetic association studies became available and affordable and allowed a hypothesis-free approach to study genetic risk factors for these disorders. In an unprecendented scientific collaborative effort, large international consortia formed to allow the analysis of these genome-wide association datasets across thousands of cases and controls ([1] and see also http://www.broadinstitute.org/mpg/ricopili/ webcite). Now that large meta-analyses of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have been published for bipolar disorder and major depression it has become clear that main effects of common variants are difficult to identify in these disorders, suggesting that additional approaches maybe needed to understand the genetic basis of these disorders [2,3].