Family twin and adoption studies

So far we have considered the theoretical basis of inheritance and possible sources of phenotypic variation and familial resemblance. Clearly, the investigation of the genetic basis of psychiatric disorders first requires us to examine whether genes contribute to a given disorder or trait. Secondly, we need to examine the role of both genes and environmental influences and finally to investigate the genetic basis of disorders at a molecular level.

Traditional methods in psychiatric genetics research include family, twin, and adoption studies. Family studies enable us to examine to what extent a disorder or trait aggregates in families. Familiality of a disorder can of course by explained by shared environmental influences as well as by shared genes. Twin and adoption studies allow us to disentangle the effects of genes and shared environment.

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