Methods for Studying Hereditary Factors in Humans
The success stories of scientific breakthroughs discussed in the previous chapter concerned mental retardation, a concept that until 15 to 20 years ago was as undifferentiated as the concept of mental illness. Today a growing number of specific etiologies for many kinds of mental retardation are recognized. This has raised the hope that the same process of new discoveries will take place with mental illness (i. e., that specific genetic entities will be identified). Currently, there is considerable research activity focused on elucidating possible genetic factors in mental illness. In this chapter, we will first review several research paradigms appropriate for the study of hereditary factors in humans. Next we will review some analytic approaches useful for the examination of specific hypotheses about genetic mechanisms. In this review, we will concentrate on the methods and the assumptions, rather than on specific numerical results.
KeywordsTwin Pair Twin Study Behavioral Disorder Fraternal Twin Hereditary Spherocytosis
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