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Gene x Environment Interactions and Developmental Psychopathology: Research Challenges and Opportunities


Washington, DC

The purpose of this workshop was to bring together researchers in developmental psychopathology, genetics, epidemiology, and related disciplines to determine: (1) the utility of the gene-by-environment (GxE) paradigm for informing disease processes during childhood and adolescence; (2) the translational relevance of research generated via the application of this paradigm; and, (3) the key issues and sources of complexity that need to be considered in applying this paradigm broadly and to pediatric populations specifically.

The GxE paradigm has become increasingly common in etiological research on child psychopathology, yet it is often misunderstood and inadequately applied. Researchers have recognized a need to strengthen approaches to conceptualizing and testing the interplay between genes and environment in the development of psychopathology. Questions remain regarding the utility and application of this paradigm for advancing etiologic research in developmental psychopathology and for translating research into the development of timely interventions.

Questions addressed at the meeting included the following:

  • What is the current research in the areas of development, genetics, epidemiology, and environment pertaining to children and adolescents?
  • What are the conceptual and methodological issues associated with application of the GxE paradigm?
  • What issues are specific to the application of this paradigm in pediatric populations?
  • What are the most appropriate, innovative, and ethical approaches to overcome potential barriers?
  • What is the utility of this paradigm in pediatric research for both etiologic and translational research?
    • How can these findings inform our perspective on developmental psychopathology?
    • In what way can information gleaned from GxE interactions be used to facilitate preventive and intervention treatment development for pediatric populations?
  • What are the key disciplines and most appropriate designs that are likely to yield promising findings for etiologic research? For translational research?

For more information, please contact Dr. Eve Mościcki.