Gene-environment interactions in psychiatry: joining forces with neuroscience

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2006 Jul;7(7):583-90. doi: 10.1038/nrn1925.


Gene-environment interaction research in psychiatry is new, and is a natural ally of neuroscience. Mental disorders have known environmental causes, but there is heterogeneity in the response to each causal factor, which gene-environment findings attribute to genetic differences at the DNA sequence level. Such findings come from epidemiology, an ideal branch of science for showing that a gene-environment interactions exist in nature and affect a significant fraction of disease cases. The complementary discipline of epidemiology, experimental neuroscience, fuels gene-environment hypotheses and investigates underlying neural mechanisms. This article discusses opportunities and challenges in the collaboration between psychiatry, epidemiology and neuroscience in studying gene-environment interactions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Environment*
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Mental Disorders / genetics*
  • Neurosciences / methods*
  • Neurosciences / trends
  • Psychiatry / methods*
  • Psychiatry / trends