ISSN 2051-8315
Psychopathology Review
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 Volume 4, Issue 2, 169-188, 2015
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Genetics in experimental psychopathology: From laboratory models to therapygenetics. Where do we go from here?

  Tina Lonsdorf - Department of Systems Neuroscience, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany
  Johanna Baas - Experimental Psychology and Helmholtz Institute. Faculty of Social Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands

Volume 4, Issue 2, 2015, Pages 169-188

Experimental psychopathology is the application of experimental methods to the study of psychopathology and its underlying processes. The study of individual differences in the development, maintenance and/or relapse of psychopathology is currently at the forefront of research. Stressful events are known to exert a substantial impact on our lives. Why however, do some people react in an extremely adaptive way, while others develop pathology in the aftermath of a trauma? One particularly interesting individual differences factor is genetic makeup and the aim of this paper is to review the current state of the art of genetics in experimental psychopathology which is illustrated by using fear conditioning as an exemplary model in the study of mechanisms underlying anxiety. We identify and discuss current challenges of the field and provide recommendations on how these can be met. In addition, criteria for experimental models of psychopathology as well as future directions are discussed.

Table of Contents
 The Candidate gene approach
 Pitfalls and recommendations.
Definition of psychiatric (endo)phenotypes
 Current definitions of psychiatric phenotypes.
 Advances in neurobiology may inform novel definitions of phenotypes.
 Fear conditioning as an exemplary model for genetics in experimental psychopathology
 Fear conditioning, extinction and return of fear as laboratory models for the acquisition, treatment and the relapse of fear.
 A prototypical model for the study of genetics in psychopathology.
Gene x environment interaction
Beyond single gene association studies
 Generalization of the candidate gene approach: polygenic scores.
An outlook on the future

Correspondence to
Tina Lonsdorf

genetics, experimental psychopathology, fear conditioning, polymorphism, polygenic scores, recommendations

Received 18 Mar 2015; Revised 2 Jun 2015; Accepted 22 Jun 2015; In Press 1 Oct 2015

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