The genetics of eating disorders

Annu Rev Clin Psychol. 2013;9:589-620. doi: 10.1146/annurev-clinpsy-050212-185546.

Abstract

Over the past decade, considerable advances have been made in understanding genetic influences on eating pathology. Eating disorders aggregate in families, and twin studies reveal that additive genetic factors account for approximately 40% to 60% of liability to anorexia nervosa (AN), bulimia nervosa (BN), and binge eating disorder (BED). Molecular genetics studies have been undertaken to identify alterations in deoxyribonucleic acid sequence and/or gene expression that may be involved in the pathogenesis of disordered eating behaviors, symptoms, and related disorders and to uncover potential genetic variants that may contribute to variability of treatment response. This article provides an in-depth review of the scientific literature on the genetics of AN, BN, and BED including extant studies, emerging hypotheses, future directions, and clinical implications.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anorexia Nervosa / genetics*
  • Binge-Eating Disorder / genetics*
  • Bulimia Nervosa / genetics*
  • Gene-Environment Interaction*
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / genetics*
  • Humans