Anxiety disorders are common, complex psychiatric disorders with twin heritabilities of 30-60%. We conducted a genome-wide association study of Lifetime Anxiety Disorder (n = 83 565) and an additional Current Anxiety Symptoms (n= 77 125) analysis. The liability scale common variant heritability estimate for Lifetime Anxiety Disorder was 26%, and for Current Anxiety Symptoms was 31%. Five novel genome-wide significant loci were identified including an intergenic region on chromosome 9 that has previously been associated with neuroticism, and a locus overlapping the BDNF receptor gene, NTRK2. Anxiety showed significant genetic correlations with depression and insomnia as well as coronary artery disease, mirroring findings from epidemiological studies. We conclude that common genetic variation accounts for a substantive proportion of the genetic architecture underlying anxiety.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3292-3303
JournalMolecular Psychiatry
Issue number12
Early online date20 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020


  • Anxiety
  • Statistical genetics
  • Psychiatry


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