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Introductory guide to the language of molecular genetics


Thalia Eley, Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Research Centre, Box P080, Institute of Psychiatry, De Crespigny Park, London SE5 8AF, UK; Tel: +44 207 848 0863; Fax: +44 207 848 0866;


Background:  This special section on molecular genetics was invited in order to raise awareness of the potential of molecular genetic approaches to inform child psychologists, psychiatrists and related professionals. As much of the terminology is specific to the field, this introductory guide aims to aid readers who may be unfamiliar with the approaches of this discipline.

Methods:  Basic terminology and genetic processes are described, with sections covering ‘The Human Genome’ and ‘Genetic Markers’.

Results:  The range of genetic markers is growing all the time, but those that are thought to be functional and/or are highly variable are particularly useful.

Conclusions:  Genotyping approaches that offer high efficiency, thus allowing for large numbers of genotypes on large numbers of individuals, are likely to come to the fore in the next few years.