Genetic Influences on Eating and the Eating Disorders

Tracey D. Wade

in The Oxford Handbook of Eating Disorders

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780195373622
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Genetic Influences on Eating and the Eating Disorders

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The current chapter reviews our progress in understanding how genes influence eating and eating disorders (EDs) by addressing the following areas: (1) how recognition of genetic influences on eating and EDs emerged; (2) the complex nature of genetic action; (3) what twin studies can tell us about genetic influences; and (4) the current state of linkage and association studies. It is concluded that genes are an important part of the explanatory framework for the etiology of EDs, with an important contribution of the shared environment to the development of cognition and attitudes that may initiate disordered eating practices, and a critical contribution of the environment in providing a context within which genetic risk is more likely to be expressed. We currently have a limited understanding of the specific genes that are implicated, and the ways in which genes and the environment work together to increase risk for disordered eating.

Keywords: association studies; gene × environment interactions; heritability; linkage studies; shared environment; twin studies

Article.  14422 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Clinical Psychology

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