Genetics of Eating Disorders: What the Clinician Needs to Know

Psychiatr Clin North Am. 2019 Mar;42(1):59-73. doi: 10.1016/j.psc.2018.10.007.


Anorexia nervosa (AN), bulimia nervosa (BN), and binge-eating disorder (BED) are heritable conditions that are influenced by both genetic and environmental factors. Recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of AN have identified specific genetic loci implicated in AN, and genetic correlations have implicated both psychiatric and metabolic factors in its origin. No GWAS have been performed for BN or BED. Genetic counseling is an important tool and can aid families and patients in understanding risk for these illnesses.

Keywords: Anorexia nervosa; Binge-eating disorder; Bulimia nervosa; Eating disorders; GWAS; Genetic counseling; Genetics; Twin.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Anorexia Nervosa / genetics*
  • Binge-Eating Disorder / genetics*
  • Bulimia Nervosa / genetics*
  • Genome-Wide Association Study*
  • Humans