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Annu Rev Psychol. 2016;67:239-61. doi: 10.1146/annurev-psych-122414-033408. Epub 2015 Oct 6.

Gene × Environment Determinants of Stress- and Anxiety-Related Disorders.

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Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia 30322.
McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Belmont, Massachusetts 02478, email:
Atlanta VA Medical Center, US Department of Veterans Affairs, Decatur, Georgia 30033.


The burgeoning field of gene-by-environment (G×E) interactions has revealed fascinating biological insights, particularly in the realm of stress-, anxiety-, and depression-related disorders. In this review we present an integrated view of the study of G×E interactions in stress and anxiety disorders, including the evolution of genetic association studies from genetic epidemiology to contemporary large-scale genome-wide association studies and G×E studies. We convey the importance of consortia efforts and collaboration to gain the large sample sizes needed to move the field forward. Finally, we discuss several robust and well-reproduced G×E interactions and demonstrate how epidemiological identification of G×E interactions has naturally led to a plethora of basic research elucidating the mechanisms of high-impact genetic variants.


anxiety; depression; epigenetics; gene-by-environment interaction; genome-wide association study; posttraumatic stress disorder; stress; trauma

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