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Genome Med. 2014 Apr 28;6(4):29. doi: 10.1186/gm546. eCollection 2014.

Genomic insights into the overlap between psychiatric disorders: implications for research and clinical practice.

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1
The MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics and The Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute, Cardiff University, Hadyn Ellis Buildin, Maindy Road, Cardiff CF24 4HQ, UK.

Abstract

Psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorder are common and result in significant morbidity and mortality. Although currently classified into distinct disorder categories, they show clinical overlap and familial co-aggregation, and share genetic risk factors. Recent advances in psychiatric genomics have provided insight into the potential mechanisms underlying the overlap between these disorders, implicating genes involved in neurodevelopment, synaptic plasticity, learning and memory. Furthermore, evidence from copy number variant, exome sequencing and genome-wide association studies supports a gradient of neurodevelopmental psychopathology indexed by mutational load or mutational severity, and cognitive impairment. These findings have important implications for psychiatric research, highlighting the need for new approaches to stratifying patients for research. They also point the way for work aiming to advance our understanding of the pathways from genotype to clinical phenotype, which will be required in order to inform new classification systems and to develop novel therapeutic strategies.

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