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Recent Findings in the Genetics of OCD

Michele T. Pato, MD; Carlos N. Pato, MD; and David L. Pauls, PhD

Published: June 1, 2002

Article Abstract

Progress in the elucidation of the genetic mechanisms involved in the expression of obsessive-compulsivedisorder (OCD) has been hampered by 2 factors: heterogeneity of the clinical phenotypeand lack of understanding of the molecular mechanism of the disorder. Efforts to narrow the phenotypehave included identification of 4 symptom dimensions as well as investigation into comorbidand perhaps related illnesses such as Gilles de la Tourette’s syndrome, eating disorders, and impulsecontroldisorders. A number of familial studies have been conducted to explore the relationship ofOCD to these illnesses and the possible existence of independently heritable components that make upthe more complex disorder. Candidate gene studies are also being conducted, with the goal of understandingthe molecular mechanisms of OCD.

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