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Review
. 2009;26(11):965-75.
doi: 10.1002/da.20623.

Genetics of Anxiety Disorders: The Complex Road From DSM to DNA

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Review

Genetics of Anxiety Disorders: The Complex Road From DSM to DNA

Jordan W Smoller et al. Depress Anxiety. .

Abstract

Anxiety disorders are among the most common psychiatric disorders, affecting one in four individuals over a lifetime. Although our understanding of the etiology of these disorders is incomplete, familial and genetic factors are established risk factors. However, identifying the specific casual genes has been difficult. Within the past several years, advances in molecular and statistical genetic methods have made the genetic dissection of complex disorders a feasible project. Here we provide an overview of these developments, with a focus on their implications for genetic studies of anxiety disorders. Although the genetic and phenotypic complexity of the anxiety disorders present formidable challenges, advances in neuroimaging and experimental animal models of anxiety and fear offer important opportunities for discovery. Real progress in identifying the genetic basis of anxiety disorders will require integrative approaches that make use of these biologic tools as well as larger-scale genomic studies. If successful, such efforts may yield novel and more effective approaches for the prevention and treatment of these common and costly disorders.

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