What is the role of genetics in the pathogenesis of bipolar affective disorder (manic-depressive illness)?

Updated: May 06, 2018
  • Author: Stephen Soreff, MD; Chief Editor: Glen L Xiong, MD  more...
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Answer

The genetic component of bipolar disorder appears to be complex: The condition is likely to be caused by multiple different common disease alleles, each of which contributes a relatively low degree of risk on its own. Such disease genes can be difficult to find without very large sample sizes, on the order of thousands of subjects.

When the genetics of bipolar disorder were first being studied, less precise tools were available, but they still yielded interesting information. Many loci are now known to be associated with the development of bipolar disorder. These loci are grouped as major affective disorder (MAFD) loci and numbered in the order of their discovery.


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