Abstract In this review, all papers relevant to the molecular genetics of bipolar disorder published from 2004 to the present (mid 2006) are reviewed, and major results on depression are summarized. Several candidate genes for schizophrenia may also be associated with bipolar disorder: G72, DISC1, NRG1, RGS4, NCAM1, DAO, GRM3, GRM4, GRIN2B, MLC1, SYNGR1, and SLC12A6. Of these, association with G72 may be most robust. However, G72 haplotypes and polymorphisms associated with bipolar disorder are not consistent with each other. The positional candidate approach showed an association between bipolar disorder and TRPM2 (21q22.3), GPR50 (Xq28), Citron (12q24), CHMP1.5 (18p11.2), GCHI (14q22-24), MLC1 (22q13), GABRA5 (15q11-q13), BCR (22q11), CUX2, FLJ32356 (12q23-q24), and NAPG (18p11). Studies that focused on mood disorder comorbid with somatic symptoms, suggested roles for the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) 3644 mutation and the POLG mutation. From gene expression analysis, PDLIM5, somatostatin, and the mtDNA 3243 mutation were found to be related to bipolar disorder. Whereas most previous positive findings were not supported by subsequent studies, DRD1 and IMPA2 have been implicated in follow-up studies. Several candidate genes in the circadian rhythm pathway, BmaL1, TIMELESS, and PERIOD3, are reported to be associated with bipolar disorder. Linkage studies show many new linkage loci. In depression, the previously reported positive finding of a gene–environmental interaction between HTTLPR (insertion/deletion polymorphism in the promoter of a serotonin transporter) and stress was not replicated. Although the role of the TPH2 mutation in depression had drawn attention previously, this has not been replicated either. Pharmacogenetic studies show a relationship between antidepressant response and HTR2A or FKBP5. New technologies for comprehensive genomic analysis have already been applied. HTTLPR and BDNF promoter polymorphisms are now found to be more complex than previously thought, and previous papers on these polymorphisms should be treated with caution. Finally, this report addresses some possible causes for the lack of replication in this field.