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Marked for Life: Are Genetic Markers Helpful in Understanding Psychological Disorders?

Progress Educational Trust
Royal Society of Medicine, 1 Wimpole Street, London W1G 0AE, UK
03 March 2010 - 6.30pm-8pm

An evening debate organised by the charity that publishes BioNews, the Progress Educational Trust (PET).

By the end of 2008, genome-wide association studies of autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder and schizophrenia in 80,000 subjects and 40billion total genotypes were said to constitute the largest biological experiment ever conducted in psychiatry. Since then, a massive international project has set out to coordinate this growing wealth of genetic data. The first batch of analyses resulting from this work identified several significant common genetic variations associated with schizophrenia, and further findings are expected in 2010. Elsewhere, a 'transcriptional atlas of human brain development' is being created to understand patterns of gene expression relevant to mental health.

What, if anything, does such genetic and epigenetic research mean for those with psychological disorders, their families and their carers? How does the heritability of these conditions relate to genetic, environmental and stochastic (random) factors? Can society's contribution to psychological disorders be usefully captured by categories such as 'gene' and 'environment', or does it need to be considered separately? If you are found to have 'the gene for' a disorder (as the popular expression has it), does this effectively mean you are marked for life?

Find out more about genetics in The Rough Guide to Genes and Cloning, coauthored by BioNews Contributing Editor Dr Jess Buxton (buy this book from Amazon UK or Amazon USA); and find out more about fertility/embryology regulation in Human Fertilisation and Embryology: Reproducing Regulation, coedited by BioNews Contributing Editor Dr Kirsty Horsey (buy this book from Amazon UK or Amazon USA).

Further details of this event are available on the Progress Educational Trust website.

Published by the Progress Educational Trust


Public Conference
8 December 2017

Speakers include

Professor Azim Surani

Professor Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz

Professor Robin Lovell-Badge

Sally Cheshire

Professor Guido Pennings

Katherine Littler

Professor Allan Pacey

Dr Sue Avery

Professor Richard Anderson

Dr Elizabeth Garner

Dr Andy Greenfield

Dr Anna Smajdor

Dr Henry Malter

Vivienne Parry

Dr Helen O'Neill

Dr César Palacios-González

Philippa Taylor

Fiona Fox

Sarah Norcross

Sandy Starr


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