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The cultural epigenetics of psychopathology: The missing heritability of complex diseases found?

Wallace, Rodrick (2009) The cultural epigenetics of psychopathology: The missing heritability of complex diseases found? [Preprint]

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Abstract

We extend a cognitive paradigm for gene expression based on the asymptotic limit theorems of information theory to the epigenetic epidemiology of mental disorders. In particular, we recognize the fundamental role culture plays in human biology, another heritage mechanism parallel to, and interacting with, the more familiar genetic and epigenetic systems. We do this via a model through which culture acts as another tunable epigenetic catalyst that both directs developmental trajectories, and becomes convoluted with individual ontology, via a mutually-interacting crosstalk mediated by a social interaction that is itself culturally driven. We call for the incorporation of embedding culture as an essential component of the epigenetic regulation of human mental development and its dysfunctions, bringing what is perhaps the central reality of human biology into the center of biological psychiatry. Current US work on gene-environment interactions in psychiatry must be extended to a model of gene-environment-culture interaction to avoid becoming victim of an extreme American individualism that threatens to create paradigms particular to that culture and that are, indeed, peculiar in the context of the world's cultures. The cultural and epigenetic systems of heritage may well provide the 'missing' heritability of complex diseases now under so much intense discussion.

Item Type:Preprint
Keywords:biological psychiatry, cognitive paradigm, gene expression, mental disorder
Subjects:Neuroscience > Neural Modelling
Psychology > Cognitive Psychology
Psychology > Developmental Psychology
ID Code:6658
Deposited By:Wallace, Rodrick
Deposited On:14 Nov 2009 11:42
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:57

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