Introduction: Genes, cognition and neuropsychiatry

Brita Elvevåg, Daniel R. Weinberger

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Numerous genes modulate dopamine and consequently prefrontal cortical function. Some of these genes - notably catechol-O-methyltransferase - have been shown to impact a variety of core cognitive processes that are dependent upon the prefrontal cortex. This demonstration that a single functional polymorphism can contribute so dramatically to individual differences heralds a new era for neuropsychiatry. Although enormous detail remains to be discovered about these various genes that regulate neurotransmitters, how they interact and how they affect brain systems, there is much excitement and promise regarding new neuropsychopharmacological possibilities. However, this new research program is magnitudes more complex than any enterprise embarked on hitherto and requires the development, validation and deployment of novel behavioural and neurophysiological phenotypes in order to unravel the pathologies within neural functional systems. This research foundation is essential if these genetic breakthroughs are to be translated to successful clinical agents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)261-276
Number of pages16
JournalCognitive Neuropsychiatry
Issue number4-5
StatePublished - Sep 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • COMT
  • Dopamine
  • Phenotypes
  • Prefrontal function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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