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Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2010 Aug;12(4):313-26. doi: 10.1007/s11920-010-0126-6.

Genetics of post-traumatic stress disorder: review and recommendations for genome-wide association studies.

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  • 1Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a prevalent, disabling anxiety disorder that constitutes a major health care burden. Despite evidence supporting a genetic predisposition to PTSD, the precise genetic loci remain unclear. Herein we review the current state and limitations of genetic research on PTSD. Although recent years have seen an exponential increase in the number of studies examining the influence of candidate genes on PTSD diagnosis and symptomatology, most studies have been characterized by relatively low rates of PTSD, with apparent inconsistencies in gene associations linked to marked differences in methodology. We further discuss how current advances in the genetics field can be applied to studies of PTSD, emphasizing the need to adapt a genome-wide approach that facilitates discovery rather than hypothesis testing. Genome-wide association studies offer the best opportunity to identify novel "true" risk variants for the disorder that in turn has the potential to inform our understanding of PTSD etiology.

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