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November 1994

The Diagnostic Interview for Genetic Studies

Author Affiliations

Department of Psychiatry Duke University Medical Center Box 3950 Durham, NC-27710

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1994;51(11):863-864. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1994.03950110023003

THE GOOD news is that we are probably at the brink of a revolution in our understanding of the genetics of the major psychiatric disorders. The bad news is that the steps we must take in getting there will not always be pretty or easy. We must recognize that this research enterprise is inherently a bootstrapping operation that will have to make the best of a useful but imperfect diagnostic system. Under optimal conditions, genetic studies are aimed at disorders with clear-cut diagnostic markers. Unfortunately, our classification of mental disorders is based on the definition of their descriptive characteristics and is largely uninformed by an understanding of underlying pathogenesis. For the most part, we lack diagnostic tests with sufficient sensitivity and specificity to be of much use in clinical practice or research investigations. What this means is that genetic studies of the psychiatric disorders must sort out the noise introduced

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