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Wurzman, Rachel und Giordano, James: Differential susceptibility to plasticity: a `missing link' between gene-culture co-evolution and neuropsychiatric spectrum disorders? In: BMC Medicine 2012, 10:37


Brune's proposal that erstwhile `vulnerability' genes need to be reconsidered as `plasticity' genes, given the potential for certain environments to yield increased positive function in the same domain as potential dysfunction, has implications for psychiatric nosology as well as a more dynamic understanding of the relationship between genes and culture. In addition to validating neuropsychiatric spectrum disorder nosologies by calling for similar methodological shifts in gene-environment-interaction studies, Brune's position elevates the importance of environmental contexts - inclusive of socio-cultural variables - as mechanisms that contribute to clinical presentation. We assert that when models of susceptibility to plasticity and neuropsychiatric spectrum disorders are concomitantly considered, a new line of inquiry emerges into the co-evolution and co-determination of sociocultural contexts and endophenotypes. This presents potentially unique opportunities, benefits, challenges, and responsibilities for research and practice in psychiatry.