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June 1979

Importance of Studying Gene-Environment Interactions Psychiatric Disorders-Reply

Author Affiliations

Department of Human Genetics Yale University School of Medicine 333 Cedar St New Haven, CT 06510
Harvard University Medical School 25 Shattuck St Boston, MA 02115

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1979;36(6):720-721. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1979.01780060110015

In Reply.—  Dr Dorus agreed with many of the conclusions of the Panel, but there seem to be two points of disagreement: (1) She conceptualized interaction strictly in terms of analysis of variance. (2) She maintained that since "gene-environment interactions play a more substantial role in psychiatric disorders, traditional genetic strategies... are not suitable." We would be most reluctant to limit the concept of interaction to the analysis of variance. It is curious that Dr Dorus cited Lewontin1 because his excellent article showed that a strict statistical interpretation of geneenvironment interaction is inadequate for an understanding of biological processes and etiology of disease. The interest of the Panel was not as much in the estimation of the components of variance as in the explication of the etiologic roles and biological interaction of specific genes and environmental factors. Thus, in the example given by Dr Dorus, it would be important to determine whether