The Complexity of Mental Disease

Courtesy of gnxp, this great post on the intersection of psychiatry and genetics:

Back in April I posted on the elusive genetics of bipolar disorder, a crippling psychiatric condition affecting over 2% of the population in any given year.

The major message from that article is that although bipolar disorder is massively influenced by genetic factors (around 85% of the variation in risk is thought to be due to genetics) we still don’t really have the faintest idea exactly which genes are involved. This is despite three reasonably large genome-wide association studies involving over 4,000 bipolar patients in total, which generated weak and contradictory results and failed to provide a single compelling candidate for genetic variation underlying this disease.

Genetic Future: The challenges of psychiatric genetics.

Similar problems will be faced when we turn genetics on the problem of crime, so the post really is valuable for understanding what the controveries in anticrime gene thereapy will be in 10 to 20 years time.