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Adv Genomics Genet. 2015;5:131-150. Epub 2015 Mar 10.

Genetics and Epigenetics of Eating Disorders.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.
2
Department of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; Department of Nutrition, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.

Abstract

Eating disorders (EDs) are serious psychiatric conditions influenced by biological, psychological, and sociocultural factors. A better understanding of the genetics of these complex traits and the development of more sophisticated molecular biology tools have advanced our understanding of the etiology of EDs. The aim of this review is to critically evaluate the literature on the genetic research conducted on three major EDs: anorexia nervosa (AN), bulimia nervosa (BN), and binge eating disorder (BED). We will first review the diagnostic criteria, clinical features, prevalence, and prognosis of AN, BN, and BED, followed by a review of family, twin, and adoption studies. We then review the history of genetic studies of EDs covering linkage analysis, candidate gene association studies, genome-wide association studies, and the study of rare variants in EDs. Our review also incorporates a translational perspective by covering animal models of ED-related phenotypes. Finally, we review the nascent field of epigenetics of EDs and a look forward to future directions for ED genetic research.

KEYWORDS:

anorexia nervosa; binge eating disorder; bulimia nervosa; eating disorders; epigenetics; genetics

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