A Molecular Genetic Approach to Neuropsychiatric Disease — Some Technical and Ethical Considerations
Most human traits, both normal and pathological, are determined by interactions between genetic and non-genetic environmental factors. Some of the genetic factors are simple, single gene factors whereas many others involve several or possibly many genes interacting with each other as well as with the environment. It is also justified to assume that all normal and pathological functions and characteristics of the human central nervous system, ranging from relatively simple phenotypes to the most complicated of human behaviors, are certain to be as much a combination of genetic and environmental factors as are all other aspects of human biology and disorders of all other organs. It seems evident that a degree of balance between the biological and environmental influences will be found not only to determine behavioral aspects of genetically simple neuropsychiatrie disorders such as Lesch Nyhan syndrome and Huntington’s disease — diseases in which genetic factors almost certainly predominate — but also to contribute in major ways to more complex disorders such as schizophrenia and other affective illnesses in which genetic components have not yet been clearly characterized. Furthermore, it seems inevitable that complicated and probably multiple genetic factors interacting with environmental factors will be associated with degenerative defects such as those responsible for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases and other human neurological disorders. Ultimately, aspects of even the most inaccessible and possibly the most unique of human traits — intelligence, memory, cognition, even creativity — must have genetic as well as environmental components.
KeywordsCentral Nervous System Disease Mammalian Central Nervous System Neuropsychiatric Disease Human Trait Molecular Genetic Approach
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