Genetic Contributions 1 Background

In the 1850s, Morel initiated the application of genetics to mental diseases. His "psychopathic degeneration" theory expressed that mental disorders have a genetic origin and worsen over generations; therefore, neurotic symptoms in a patient would ultimately give rise to severe mental illnesses in his or her progeny. In the 1920s, Rudin, Luxenburger, and Schultz from the Munich school of medicine intensively studied the mode of inheritance of schizophrenia and refined the methodology of twin studies. However, they soon found that Mendelian modes of inheritance, which made it easy to calculate the morbid risks for different degrees of relatives of probands, could not be applied to the study of the inheritance of major psychoses.

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