The genetics of anxiety-related negative valence system traits. Academic Article uri icon


  • NIMH's Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) domain of negative valence systems (NVS) captures constructs of negative affect such as fear and distress traditionally subsumed under the various internalizing disorders. Through its aims to capture dimensional measures that cut across diagnostic categories and are linked to underlying neurobiological systems, a large number of phenotypic constructs have been proposed as potential research targets. Since "genes" represent a central "unit of analysis" in the RDoC matrix, it is important for studies going forward to apply what is known about the genetics of these phenotypes as well as fill in the gaps of existing knowledge. This article reviews the extant genetic epidemiological data (twin studies, heritability) and molecular genetic association findings for a broad range of putative NVS phenotypic measures. We find that scant genetic epidemiological data is available for experimentally derived measures such as attentional bias, peripheral physiology, or brain-based measures of threat response. The molecular genetic basis of NVS phenotypes is in its infancy, since most studies have focused on a small number of candidate genes selected for putative association to anxiety disorders (ADs). Thus, more research is required to provide a firm understanding of the genetic aspects of anxiety-related NVS constructs. 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

published proceedings

  • Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet

author list (cited authors)

  • Savage, J. E., Sawyers, C., Roberson-Nay, R., & Hettema, J. M.

complete list of authors

  • Savage, Jeanne E||Sawyers, Chelsea||Roberson-Nay, Roxann||Hettema, John M

publication date

  • January 1, 2017 11:11 AM