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    The importance of genetics in psychiatry has been a topic of ongoing debate. The futile search for candidate genes underlying psychiatric disorders in the decades before 2007 resulted in overall disappointment. Since then, however, researchers and clinicians have witnessed the discovery of a plethora of common and rare genetic variants associated with psychiatric disorders.
    AIM: To relate the history of general genetics to the history of psychiatric genetics, underlining how.
    METHOD: Literature research.
    RESULTS: The anatomical and physiological phases of this history have shaped the field of psychiatric genetics. We describe pivotal discoveries that have facilitated the uncovering, reading and writing of DNA. We then discuss several milestone discoveries in the field of psychiatric genetics. We end with an outlook on where the field of psychiatric genetics may be heading in the decades to come, arguing that a ‘clinical phase’ of psychiatric genetics may be ahead of us.
    CONCLUSION: The research with a focus on polygenic risk scores (PRS) could be translated into clinical practice in the coming years and we expect more attention to the question of how genetic variants cause psychiatric disorders. We look to future developments with some optimism.


    E Van Assche, J J Luykx. Relating the history of genetics to the field of psychiatric genetics: the discovery, reading and writing of DNA]. Tijdschrift voor psychiatrie. 2022;64(5):256-259

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    PMID: 35735033

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