Editorial: Illuminating the dark matter of developmental neuropsychiatric genetics - strategic focus for future research in child psychology and psychiatry

J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2014 Mar;55(3):201-3. doi: 10.1111/jcpp.12223.


Research on genetic factors influencing cognitive and behavioural traits or which are central to the aetiology of neuropsychiatric diseases has been complicated by a furtive discrepancy between high heritability estimates and a scarcity of replicable gene-disorder associations. This 'missing heritability' has been either euphemised as the 'dark matter' of gene-trait association or aggravated as the 'looming crisis in behavioural genetics'. Nevertheless, in recognising the importance of this topic for our understanding of child psychiatric conditions and highlighting its commitment to the field, the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry (JCPP) has for the first time appointed an editor with special responsibility for molecular (epi)genetics.

Keywords: Behavioural genetics; epigenetics; gene-by-environment interaction; gene-trait/disorder association studies; guidelines; neurodevelopmental impairments; neuropsychiatric genetics.

Publication types

  • Editorial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Psychiatry / standards
  • Gene-Environment Interaction*
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / etiology
  • Mental Disorders / genetics*
  • Nervous System Diseases / etiology
  • Nervous System Diseases / genetics*
  • Neuropsychiatry / standards
  • Psychology, Child / standards