Current Psychiatry Reports

, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp 135-140

First online:

Recent progress in the search for genes for bipolar disorder

  • John R. KelsoeAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, 0603 University of California at San Diego

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Over many decades, much evidence has been accumulated to demonstrate the strong role of genetic factors in bipolar disorder. Recently, genetic studies of bipolar disorder have turned from proving the role of genetics to identifying the specific genes involved. This has been made possible by the development of powerful methods to identify disease genes by their locations on chromosomes, an approach termed postitional cloning. Currently, about a dozen regions in the genome have been implicated as the location of susceptibility genes for bipolar disorder. Several of these have been replicated and will likely lead to the identification of novel disease mechanisms. An intriguing development is that a few of these are the same locations implicated in studies of schizophrenia, suggesting a greater genetic relationship between these disorders than had been previously thought. It is hoped that the identification of novel disease genes will lead to a better understanding of the pathophysiology of bipolar disorder and to the development of more effective treatments.