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Translating insights from neuropsychiatric genetics and genomics for precision psychiatry

Rees, Elliott and Owen, Michael J. 2020. Translating insights from neuropsychiatric genetics and genomics for precision psychiatry. Genome Medicine 12 (1) , 43. 10.1186/s13073-020-00734-5

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The primary aim of precision medicine is to tailor healthcare more closely to the needs of individual patients. This requires progress in two areas: the development of more precise treatments and the ability to identify patients or groups of patients in the clinic for whom such treatments are likely to be the most effective. There is widespread optimism that advances in genomics will facilitate both of these endeavors. It can be argued that of all medical specialties psychiatry has most to gain in these respects, given its current reliance on syndromic diagnoses, the minimal foundation of existing mechanistic knowledge, and the substantial heritability of psychiatric phenotypes. Here, we review recent advances in psychiatric genomics and assess the likely impact of these findings on attempts to develop precision psychiatry. Emerging findings indicate a high degree of polygenicity and that genetic risk maps poorly onto the diagnostic categories used in the clinic. The highly polygenic and pleiotropic nature of psychiatric genetics will impact attempts to use genomic data for prediction and risk stratification, and also poses substantial challenges for conventional approaches to gaining biological insights from genetic findings. While there are many challenges to overcome, genomics is building an empirical platform upon which psychiatry can now progress towards better understanding of disease mechanisms, better treatments, and better ways of targeting treatments to the patients most likely to benefit, thus paving the way for precision psychiatry.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (CNGG)
Publisher: BioMed Central
ISSN: 1756-994X
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 5 June 2020
Date of Acceptance: 3 April 2020
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2020 15:39

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