Gene-environment interaction and psychiatric disorders: Review and future directions

Elham Assary, John Paul Vincent, Robert Keers, Michael Pluess

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

121 Citations (Scopus)


Empirical studies suggest that psychiatric disorders result from a complex interplay between genetic and environmental factors. Most evidence for such gene-environment interaction (GxE) is based on single candidate gene studies conducted from a Diathesis-Stress perspective. Recognizing the short-comings of candidate gene studies, GxE research has begun to focus on genome-wide and polygenic approaches as well as drawing on different theoretical concepts underlying GxE, such as Differential Susceptibility. After reviewing evidence from candidate GxE studies and presenting alternative theoretical frameworks underpinning GxE research, more recent approaches and findings from whole genome approaches are presented. Finally, we suggest how future GxE studies may unpick the complex interplay between genes and environments in psychiatric disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-143
Number of pages11
JournalSeminars in Cell and Developmental Biology
Publication statusPublished - May 2018


  • Antisocial Personality Disorder/genetics
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity/genetics
  • Catechol O-Methyltransferase/genetics
  • Depression/genetics
  • Environment
  • Gene-Environment Interaction
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease/genetics
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders/genetics
  • Monoamine Oxidase/genetics
  • Receptors, Dopamine D4/genetics
  • Schizophrenia/genetics
  • Serotonin Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins/genetics
  • Stress, Psychological/genetics


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