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Annu Rev Nutr. 2007;27:263-75.

The genetics of anorexia nervosa.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.


Anorexia nervosa is a perplexing illness marked by low body weight and persistent fear of weight gain. Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disease. Historically, anorexia nervosa was viewed as a disorder primarily influenced by sociocultural factors; however, over the past decade, this perception has been challenged. Family studies have consistently demonstrated that anorexia nervosa runs in families. Twin studies have underscored the contribution of additive genetic factors to the observed familial aggregation. With these bodies of literature as a starting point, we evaluate critically the current state of research on molecular genetic studies of anorexia nervosa and provide guidance for future research.

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