Genetic Understanding of OCD and Spectrum Disorders

Jack Samuels, Marco A. Grados, Elizabeth Planalp and O. Joseph Bienvenu

in The Oxford Handbook of Obsessive Compulsive and Spectrum Disorders

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780195376210
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Genetic Understanding of OCD and Spectrum Disorders


This chapter reviews the evidence for the genetic etiology of OCD and spectrum conditions. A genetic basis is supported by the familial aggregation of OCD; evidence for involvement of genes of major effect in segregation analyses; and higher concordance for OCD in identical than non-identical twins. Recent studies also support linkage of OCD to specific chromosomal regions and association of OCD with specific genetic polymorphisms. However, specific genes causing OCD have not yet been firmly established. The search for genes is complicated by the clinical and etiologic heterogeneity of OCD, as well as the possibility of gene–gene and gene–environmental interactions. Despite this complexity, developments in molecular and statistical genetics, and further refinement of the phenotype hold promise for further deepening our genetic understanding of OCD and spectrum disorders in the coming decade.

Keywords: obsessive compulsive disorder; genetics; family studies; twin studies; genetic linkage; genetic association; candidate genes

Article.  11506 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Clinical Psychology

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