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The Genetics of Anxiety Disorders 

The Genetics of Anxiety Disorders
The Genetics of Anxiety Disorders

Jordan W. Smoller

, Felecia E. Cerrato

, and Sarah L. Weatherall

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date: 25 October 2020

Family and twin studies have established that anxiety disorders are familial and moderately heritable. Approximately 20–40% of the risk of anxiety disorders is attributable to genetic variation in the population. In recent years, molecular genetic methods have been applied to search for the genes underlying anxiety disorder heritability, with limited success to date. Several candidate genes have been implicated in risk of anxiety disorders, anxiety-related traits, and anxiety-related brain phenotypes, but results have been inconsistent. No specific common or rare variants have been established by genome-wide association studies. Anxiety disorders are likely to be highly polygenic. Genetic influences are shared across a range of anxiety disorders and depression. Success in identifying risk loci and gene-environment interactions will require much larger samples and should capitalize on insights from animal models human studies of anxiety-related brain circuitry.

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