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April 1968

Heredity and Environment in SchizophreniaThe Contribution of Twin Studies

Author Affiliations

Bethesda, Md
From the Section on Twin and Sibling Studies, Adult Psychiatry Branch, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Md.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1968;18(4):458-463. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1968.01740040074009

SCHIZOPHRENIA and other disordered emotional states did not come under scientific scrutiny until early in the 20th century. With the advent of mendelian genetics in 1865 came the promise that many human traits previously unaccounted for might be explained on the basis of genetic inheritance. The Danish biologist, Johannsen, introduced the concept that the phenotype or the external appearance of an organism represented the result of the interplay of the genotype, the total sum of genes in the organism, and the environment in which the organism found itself.1 Galton in 1876 was impressed with the idea that the nurture-nature problem might be resolved through the study of twins.2 In respect to mental illness, European investigators have tended toward acceptance of the nature side of what appeared as a dialectical issue, in that mental illness was seen as primarily genetically

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