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The genetic contribution to psychiatric disorders is observed through the increased rates of disorders in the relatives of those diagnosed with disorders. These increased rates are observed to be nonspecific; for example, children of those with schizophrenia have increased rates of schizophrenia but also a broad range of other psychiatric diagnoses. While many factors contribute to risk, epidemiological evidence suggests that the genetic contribution carries the highest risk burden. The patterns of inheritance are consistent with a polygenic architecture of many contributing risk loci. The genetic studies of the past decade have provided empirical evidence identifying thousands of DNA variants associated with psychiatric disorders. Here, we describe how these latest results are consistent with observations from epidemiology. We provide an R tool (CHARRGe) to calculate genetic parameters from epidemiological parameters and vice versa. We discuss how the single nucleotide polymorphism-based estimates of heritability and genetic correlation relate to those estimated from family records.

Original publication




Journal article


Biol Psychiatry

Publication Date





11 - 19


Family register data, GWAS, Genetic correlation, Heritability, Psychiatric genetics, Risk in relatives, Child, Genetic Predisposition to Disease, Genome-Wide Association Study, Humans, Multifactorial Inheritance, Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide, Schizophrenia