Linkage Studies

Two traits located proximately on the same chromosome by the phenomenon of linkage have a dependent assortment during the process of meiosis. Linkage studies compare the pattern of inheritance of blocks of genes among relatives with the inheritance pattern of a trait of interest. Although this method was useful in the study of rare Mendelian disorders with known mode of inheritance and clearly specified phenotypes such as Huntington's disease, it has been less successful when applied to disorders that do not exhibit simple Mendelian patterns of inheritance, such as the major psychiatric disorders. Recent studies have demonstrated a linkage of mood disorders to chromosome 18. In a linkage study of 22 bipolar families, Berretini et al. found evidence for a bipolar susceptibility gene in the pericentromeric region of chromosome 18. No single gene or region has been shown to be causative of the majority of familial mood disorders.

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