Gene finding in genetically complex diseases has been difficult as a result of many factors that have diagnostic and methodologic considerations. For bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, numerous family, twin, and adoption studies have identified a strong genetic component to these behavioral psychiatric disorders. Despite difficulties that include diagnostic differences between sample populations and the lack of statistical significance in many individual studies, several promising patterns have emerged, suggesting that true susceptibility loci for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder may have been identified. In this review, the genetic epidemiology of these disorders is covered as well as linkage findings on chromosomes 4, 12, 13, 18, 21, and 22 in bipolar disorder and on chromosomes 1, 6, 8, 10, 13, 15, and 22 in schizophrenia. The sequencing of the human genome and identification of numerous single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) should substantially enhance the ability of investigators to identify disease-causing genes in these areas of the genome.