Genetic association studies in mood disorders: Issues and promise

Sevilla D. Detera-Wadleigh, Francis J. McMahon

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Genetic association is a powerful method for identifying genetic variants that contribute to the molecular basis of complex diseases. There is now a wealth of informative, validated and densely-spaced single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers for use in association studies, and the delineation of the genome-wide haplotype architecture will greatly enhance our ability to conduct whole genome association screens, fine mapping of linkage regions, and systematic screening of functional candidate genes. Single nucleotide polymorphism-based genotyping technology has progressed dramatically to the point of high-throughput methods that can assay up to thousands of SNPs on many samples in one experiment. Genotyping cost remains a limiting factor in complex disease studies, where numerous SNPs and large sample sets are needed to maximize statistical power. Strategies designed to reduce cost include DNA pooling and analysis with tagSNPs. As larger clinical samples become available, it will be increasingly important to test for hidden stratification in case-control studies, as well as transmission distortion in family-based studies, either of which can lead to spurious association findings. As yet, there is no widely-accepted genetic association finding in mood disorders, but functional candidate genes, such as the serotonin transporter, and positional candidates, such as G72/G30 on chromosome 13q, are beginning to be identified in several studies. Relating associated variants to the phenotype represents the next critical step toward establishing the pathogenic role of gene variants in mood disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)301-310
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Review of Psychiatry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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