Overview of genetic research in anorexia nervosa: The past, the present and the future

Brandys, M. K., de Kovel, C. G. F., Kas, M. J., van Elburg, A. A. & Adan, R. A. H., Nov-2015, In : International journal of eating disorders. 48, 7, p. 814-825 12 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

  • Marek K. Brandys
  • Carolien G. F. de Kovel
  • Martien J. Kas
  • Annemarie A. van Elburg
  • Roger A. H. Adan

BackgroundEven though the evidence supporting the presence of a heritable component in the aetiology of anorexia nervosa (AN) is strong, the underlying genetic mechanisms remain poorly understood. The recent publication of a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of AN (Boraska, Mol Psychiatry, 2014) was an important step in genetic research in AN.

ObjectiveTo briefly sum up strengths and weaknesses of candidate-gene and genome-wide approaches, to discuss the genome-wide association studies of AN and to make predictions about the genetic architecture of AN by comparing it to that of schizophrenia (since the diseases share some similarities and genetic research in schizophrenia is more advanced).

MethodDescriptive literature review.

ResultsDespite remarkable efforts, the gene-association studies in AN did not advance our knowledge as much as had been hoped, although some results still await replication.

DiscussionContinuous effort of participants, clinicians and researchers remains necessary to ensure that genetic research in AN follows a similarly successful path as in schizophrenia. Identification of genetic susceptibility loci provides a basis for follow-up studies. (c) 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2015; 48:814-825)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)814-825
Number of pages12
JournalInternational journal of eating disorders
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Nov-2015
Externally publishedYes


  • genome-wide association, anorexia nervosa, genetic overlap between disorders, genetic architecture, heritability, candidate gene, GENOME-WIDE ASSOCIATION, EATING-DISORDERS, ENVIRONMENTAL-INFLUENCES, CANDIDATE GENES, BULIMIA-NERVOSA, PATERNAL-AGE, PSYCHIATRIC GENETICS, CONTROLLED FAMILY, RISK-FACTORS, SCHIZOPHRENIA

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