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Book Forum: GENETICS AND NEUROSCIENCE   |    
Psychiatric Genetics and Genomics
MING T. TSUANG, M.D., Ph.D., D.Sc.
Am J Psychiatry 2005;162:2201-a-2202. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.162.11.2201-a
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Edited by Peter McGuffin, Michael J. Owen, and Irving I. Gottesman. New York, Oxford University Press, 2002, 472 pp., $98.50.

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The advent of the genomic era and recent progress in the fields of statistics and computation methodology are neatly balanced with the traditional cornerstones of psychiatric genetics, such as twin and adoption studies, in this impressive text on psychiatric genetics and genomics. The book has an impressive list of contributors; the editors selected from an exciting range of experts. The text diligently explores its subjects in four sections: Basic Principles, Genetics of Normal and Abnormal Development, Genetics of Abnormal Behaviour in Adult Life, and Applications and Implications.

The first section covers basic molecular genetics, quantitative genetics, linkage, and association. The chapter authors recognize that their audience’s principal realm of experience is in psychiatry and psychology and take pains to ensure that the molecular and quantitative concepts presented are accessible to all levels of expertise. This section also contains many additional suggestions on further reading for those interested in understanding more than just the basics.

The second section includes chapters on personality and cognitive abilities, genetics of mental retardation, reading and language disorders, and childhood disorders. The third section covers personality disorders, affective disorders, schizophrenia, substance misuse, anxiety and eating disorders, and the dementias. Detailed coverage is provided of the major psychiatric syndromes in adult life, with explanations offered for both quantitative and molecular findings. The latest research is discussed and critically reevaluated, and current findings are compared with more traditional methods for a fair and accurate assessment of both systems.

The final section focuses on psychopharmacogenetics, genetic counseling, ethical considerations in psychiatric genetics, and the future and postgenomic psychiatry. Clinical, academic, and ethical perspectives provide a balanced view of the possible future paths for psychiatric genetics.

The book is well written, although it assumes a healthy background in psychiatry. The general flow of information is logical and concise, leading one through the different sections in a coherent and thoughtful manner. This text is stimulating and informative, offering a good overview of the situation for newcomers to the field as well as sufficient current details to keep even the most informed readers interested in the subject matter. The book concludes with a helpful guide to Internet addresses useful for psychiatric genetics and genomics, helping to ensure that the readers maintain their current place at the cutting edge of psychiatric genetics research.

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