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date: 14 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Molecular genetic studies of psychiatric traits, including externalizing behaviors, aim to further our understanding of etiology by identifying specific genetic vulnerabilities that give rise to psychopathology. Recently, molecular geneticists have moved from candidate gene studies focused on small sets of genetic variants in single genes and coarse genome-wide linkage scans to genome-wide association studies and genome sequencing studies that examine millions of such variants in a single study. This has led to significant progress in our understanding of the genetic architecture of vulnerability for externalizing behavior. This chapter reviews methods that are used to study the molecular genetics of externalizing spectrum disorders. It begins with a review of the basic research designs used to study genetic variation, then describes how transdiagnostic approaches to phenotype measurement, combined with advances in analytic approaches and genotyping and sequencing technologies, will allow for more powerful molecular genetic investigations of the externalizing spectrum.

Keywords: molecular genetics, externalizing spectrum disorders, psychopathology, genome sequencing, genetic variation

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