A framework for interpreting genome-wide association studies of psychiatric disorders

Mol Psychiatry. 2009 Jan;14(1):10-7. doi: 10.1038/mp.2008.126. Epub 2008 Nov 11.


Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have yielded a plethora of new findings in the past 3 years. By early 2009, GWAS on 47 samples of subjects with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder and schizophrenia will be completed. Taken together, these GWAS constitute the largest biological experiment ever conducted in psychiatry (59 000 independent cases and controls, 7700 family trios and >40 billion genotypes). We know that GWAS can work, and the question now is whether it will work for psychiatric disorders. In this review, we describe these studies, the Psychiatric GWAS Consortium for meta-analyses of these data, and provide a logical framework for interpretation of some of the conceivable outcomes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Genome*
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / genetics*
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic