CP Research Corner: Genes and Anorexia Nervosa

Significant Locus and Metabolic Genetic Correlations Revealed in Genome-Wide Association Study of Anorexia Nervosa

Genes and Anorexia Nervosa

Duncan, et al. (2017) analyzed the relationship between genes and anorexia nervosa (AN). They identified a locus on chromosome 12 that was significant. They also calculated the heritability of anorexia nervosa and found is to be about 0.20 percent, which is comparable to the estimates for other psychiatric disorders. Anorexia was significantly correlated with other psychiatric traits and disorders, including neuroticism and schizophrenia. In addition, there were positive correlations between anorexia nervosa and years of education and attending college. Finally, extreme high, obesity, BMI in the normal range, overweight, and hip circumference were significantly negatively correlated with AN.

To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first genome-wide significant association of anorexia nervosa, which may be because they combined cohorts to create a much larger sample size than in past studies. However, the researchers claim that even larger sample sizes are needed for thess studies. They expect that their study will be the “beginning of genomic discover in eating disorders” (Duncan et al., 2017, pg. 855).