By: Sarah Hohmann, Nicoletta Adamo, Benjamin B. Lahey, Stephen V. Faraone, & Tobias Banaschewski
European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
Discovering the genetic basis of early-onset psychiatric disorders has been the aim of intensive research during the last decade. We will first selectively summarize results of genetic research in child and adolescent psychiatry by using examples from different disorders and discuss methodological issues, emerging questions and future directions. In the second part of this review, we will focus on how to link genetic causes of disorders with physiological pathways, discuss the impact of genetic findings on diagnostic systems, prevention and therapeutic interventions. Finally we will highlight some ethical aspects connected to genetic research in child and adolescent psychiatry. Advances in molecular genetic methods have led to insights into the genetic architecture of psychiatric disorders, but not yet provided definite pathways to pathophysiology. If replicated, promising findings from genetic studies might in some cases lead to personalized treatments. On the one hand, knowledge of the genetic basis of disorders may influence diagnostic categories. On the other hand, models also suggest studying the genetic architecture of psychiatric disorders across diagnoses and clinical groups.