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1998 6th World Congress on Psychiatric Genetics Bonn Germany October 6-10 1998 sponsored by the International Society of Psychiatric Genetics

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American Journal of Medical Genetics (Neuropsychiatric Genetics) 81:451–556 (1998)
1998 6th World Congress on Psychiatric Genetics,
Bonn, Germany, October 6–10, 1998 Sponsored by
the International Society of Psychiatric Genetics
Peter Propping
Chairman, 6th World Congress on Psychiatric Genetics
Institute of Human Genetics, University of Bonn, Germany
The community of psychiatric geneticists met five
times for world congresses:
1989 Cambridge, UK (chair: Tim Crow)
1991 London, UK (chair: Tim Crow)
1993 New Orleans, USA (chair: Ted Reich)
1995 Cardiff, UK (chair: Peter McGuffin)
1997 Santa Fe, USA (chair: Lynn DeLisi)
In order to cope with the speed with which the field
develops the International Society of Psychiatric Genetics decided to have world congresses every year. The
6th World Congress in Bonn is the first full-scale annual meeting on psychiatric genetics. It takes place in
traditional lecture halls of the university in the Poppelsdorf area. The botanical garden that surrounds the
Poppelsdorf castle is a quiet place for discussions with
old and new friends.
The methods of molecular genetics, genetic epidemiology, and statistics when combined, are a powerful
tool for uncovering the etiology of diseases in which
hereditary factors are involved. This proved to be true
for a host of Mendelian traits. The application of these
methods to the genetically complex disorders will be a
promising challenge for biomedicine for decades to
come. For mental disorders, genetic methods are likely
to be more powerful than any other approach in uncovering the underlying basis.
© 1998 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
As at the earlier congresses the program includes
plenary talks by prominent invited speakers on
broader topics related to psychiatric genetics, concurrent sessions, and poster presentations. The presentations are summarized in some 350 abstracts. At the
meeting in Santa Fe chromosome workshops were initiated which were aimed at integrating the independent data sets of the different psychiatric illness onto
one chromosomal linkage. It turned out that a major
obstacle towards integrating different data sets are the
applied diagnostic criteria. The President of the International Society of Psychiatric Genetics, Peter McGuffin, will therefore initiate a task force which aims at
standardizing the diagnostic procedures in linkage
studies. We urgently have to find ways to make different data sets comparable. The chromosome workshops
of this year and the years to come will hopefully show
an ever increasing consistency of the mapped chromosomal regions.
Psychiatric genetics has a sad prehistory. Mentally
ill patients were systematically killed in NaziGermany. The prehistory will remain a burden to the
field forever, because well-known scientists were involved in what was called ‘‘euthanasia’’. Therefore, psychiatric genetics has to be aware of both the past and
the future. A whole plenary session is devoted to these
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