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A major role for common genetic variation in anxiety disorders

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Kirstin Purves, Jonathan Richard Iain Coleman, Sandra Melanie Meier, Christopher David Rayner, Katrina Alice Southworth Davis, Rosa Cheesman, Marie Bækvad-Hansen, Anders D Børglum, Shing Wan Choi, Juergen Deckert, Héléna Alexandra Gaspar, Jonas Bybjerg-Grauholm, John M. Hettema, Matthew Hotopf, David M. Hougaard, Christopher Huebel, Carol Kan, Andrew M. McIntosh, Ole Mors, Preben Bo Mortensen & 6 more Merete Nordentoft, Thomas Werge, Kristin K. Nicodemus, Manuel Mattheisen, Gerome Daniel Breen, Thalia Catherine Eley

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3292-3303
JournalMolecular Psychiatry
Issue number12
Early online date20 Nov 2019
Accepted/In press19 Aug 2019
E-pub ahead of print20 Nov 2019
Published1 Dec 2020


  • A Major Role for_PURVES_Publishedonline20Nov2019_GREEN AAM

    REVISED_Manuscript_A_Major_role_for_common_genetic_variation_in_anxiety_disorders_CLEAN.docx, 138 KB, application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.wordprocessingml.document

    Uploaded date:19 Aug 2019

    Version:Accepted author manuscript

King's Authors


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.

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