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Finding Genes for Bipolar Disorder in the Functional Genomics Era: From Convergent Functional Genomics to Phenomics and Back

  • Alexander B. Niculescu and John R. Kelsoe


Psychiatric genetics, while promising to unravel the mechanisms of psychiatric disorders, has proven to be a challenging field. Psychiatric disorders, like other common genetic traits, are complex and heterogeneous. Psychiatric genetics has also suffered from a lack of quantifiable, biology-based phenotypes. However, the field is currently at an opportune moment. The work of various investigators is on the verge of paying rich dividends. Efforts at positional cloning are being greatly accelerated by the fruits of the Human Genome Project. New tools of functional genomics, such as expression profiling and proteomics, are being applied to animal models. These two methods can complement each other in an approach we have termed convergent functional genomics. Lastly, improvements in the measurement of biologically distinct endophenotypes—or phenomics—will lead to a better understanding of the mapping of genes to phenotypes in both animal and human systems.


Corresponding author

Please direct correspondence to: A.B. Niculescu, MD, PhD, or John R. Kelsoe, MD, Department of Psychiatry, 0603, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093. Tel: 858-534-5927; Fax: 858-534-5527; E-mail:


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