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Mol Psychiatry. 2005 Aug;10(8):719-40.

Genetic tests of biologic systems in affective disorders.

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Department of Psychiatry, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA.


To liberate candidate gene analyses from criticisms of inexhaustiveness of examination of specific candidate genes, or incompleteness in the choice of candidate genes to study for specific neurobiological pathways, study of sizeable sets of genes pertinent to each putative pathophysiological pathway is required. For many years, genes have been tested in a 'one by one' manner for association with major affective disorders, primarily bipolar illness. However, it is conceivable that not individual genes but abnormalities in several genes within a system or in several neuronal, neural, or hormonal systems are implicated in the functional hypotheses for etiology of affective disorders. Compilation of candidate genes for entire pathways is a challenge, but can reasonably be carried out for the major affective disorders as discussed here. We present here five groupings of genes implicated by neuropharmacological and other evidence, which suggest 252 candidate genes worth examining. Inexhaustiveness of gene interrogation would apply to many studies in which only one polymorphism per gene is analyzed. In contrast to whole-genome association studies, a study of a limited number of candidate genes can readily exploit information on genomic sequence variations obtained from databases and/or resequencing, and has an advantage of not having the complication of an extremely stringent statistical criterion for association.

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