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Nat Rev Neurosci. 2006 Jul;7(7):583-90.

Gene-environment interactions in psychiatry: joining forces with neuroscience.

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Medical Research Council Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, P0 Box 80 De Crespigny Park, London SE5 8AF, UK.


Gene-environment interaction research in psychiatry is new, and is a natural ally of neuroscience. Mental disorders have known environmental causes, but there is heterogeneity in the response to each causal factor, which gene-environment findings attribute to genetic differences at the DNA sequence level. Such findings come from epidemiology, an ideal branch of science for showing that a gene-environment interactions exist in nature and affect a significant fraction of disease cases. The complementary discipline of epidemiology, experimental neuroscience, fuels gene-environment hypotheses and investigates underlying neural mechanisms. This article discusses opportunities and challenges in the collaboration between psychiatry, epidemiology and neuroscience in studying gene-environment interactions.

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