Jay Joseph, Psy.D.
Licensed Psychologist/Author
Offices in Oakland (Rockridge District) and Hayward California
jayjoseph22@gmail.com  Telephone: (510) 295-5490

    Psychiatry, Heredity, and the Fruitless
    Search for Genes

    By Jay Joseph, Psy.D.

    Algora Publishing, January, 2006.
    Retail price $26.95 paperback, $29.95 hardcover. 324 pp.

    Available at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com.

Chapter-by-chapter description of The Missing Gene

            What causes psychiatric disorders to appear? Are they primarily the result of people’s
    environments, or of their genes? Increasingly, we are told that research has established the
    importance of genetic influences on psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder,
    autism, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
           The Missing Gene provides a much-needed critical appraisal of theories supporting a genetic
    basis for psychiatric disorders. These theories hold that psychiatric disorders are caused by a
    genetic predisposition in combination with environmental agents or events. In fact, the field of
    psychiatric genetics is approaching a crisis due to the continuing failure, despite years of concerted
    worldwide efforts, to identify the genes presumed to underlie the major mental disorders.
           The belief that such genes exist is based on studies of families, twins, and adoptees. However,
    the author shows that, contrary to accounts in popular works, these studies provide little if any
    scientifically acceptable evidence in support of genetics. Moreover it is not true, as frequently
    reported in the popular media, that genes for the major psychiatric disorders have already been
    discovered. In fact, researchers’ initial “discoveries” are rarely replicated. As this becomes more
    understood, and as fruitless gene finding efforts continue to pile up, we may well be headed towards
    a paradigm shift in psychiatry away from genetic and biological explanations of mental disorders, and
    towards a greater understanding of how family and social environments contribute to human
    psychological distress. Indeed, Kenneth Kendler, a leading twin researcher and psychiatric geneticist
    for over two decades, wrote in a 2005 edition of the American Journal of Psychiatry that the “strong,
    clear, and direct causal relationship implied by the concept of ‘a gene for …’ does not exist for
    psychiatric disorders. Although we may wish it to be true, we do not have and are not likely to ever
    discover ‘genes for’ psychiatric illness.” And Peter Propping, recipient of the 2004 Lifetime
    Achievement Award from the International Society of Psychiatric Genetics, wrote in 2005 as follows:
    “Whereas genetically complex traits are being successfully pinned down to the molecular level in other
    fields of medicine, psychiatric genetics still awaits a major breakthrough.”  
            The author devotes individual chapters to ADHD, autism, and bipolar disorder, where he argues
    that, contrary to the frequent claim that these conditions are “heavily genetically influenced,” there
    exists little evidence that they have a genetic foundation. Looking specifically at autism, despite the
    near-unanimous opinion that it has an important genetic component, the evidence cited in support of
    this position is stunningly weak. It consists mainly of family studies, which cannot disentangle the
    potential influences of genes and environment, and four small methodologically flawed twin studies
    whose results can be explained by non-genetic factors. Not surprisingly, then, over a decade of
    autism gene finding research has come up empty.
             The Missing Gene is an important book because theories based on genetic research have a
    profound impact on both scientific and public thinking, as well as on social policy decisions. In
    addition, genetic theories influence the types of clinical treatments received by people diagnosed with
    psychiatric disorders. Yet, as the author demonstrates, these theories do not stand up to critical
                 Like the author’s previous work, The Gene Illusion: Genetic Research in Psychiatry and
    Psychology Under the Microscope, this will be a controversial book, and is sure to spark intense
    discussion among people interested in the causes of psychiatric disorders. As in The Gene Illusion,
    the author challenges many positions viewed by mainstream psychiatry and psychology as
    established facts. In the process, he shows that textbooks and other authoritative sources sometimes
    provide misleading or inaccurate accounts of the research put forward as supporting the genetic
    position. The author concludes that it is unlikely that faulty genes play a role in causing the major
    psychiatric disorders.
             The Missing Gene provides an enormously important alternative to currently popular genetic
    theories in psychiatry. It is destined to play an important part in public and scholarly discussions of
    genetic factors’ possible role in causing human psychological distress.  


Click here for a chapter-by-chapter description of The Missing Gene
Click here to download a publicity flyer for The Missing Gene
       2008: Researchers Confirm Failure to Find Genes for Schizophrenia
                                   Table of Contents

    CHAPTER 1      
    Introduction. The Twin Method: Science or Pseudoscience?

    CHAPTER 2      
    ADHD Genetic Research: Activity Deserving of Attention, or
    Studies Disordered by Deficits?  

    CHAPTER 3        
    A Critique of the Spectrum Concept as Used in the Danish-American
    Schizophrenia Adoption Studies     

    CHAPTER 4        
    Pellagra and Genetic Research

    CHAPTER 5        
    A Generation Misinformed: Psychiatry and Psychology Textbooks' Inaccurate
    Accounts of Schizophrenia Adoption Research             

    CHAPTER 6        
    Irving Gottesman’s Schizophrenia Genesis: A Primary Source for
    Misunderstanding the Genetics of Schizophrenia

    CHAPTER 7        
    Autism and Genetics: Much Ado About Very Little

    CHAPTER 8        
    The 1942 “Euthanasia” Debate in the American Journal of Psychiatry

    CHAPTER 9        
    The Twin Method’s Achilles Heel: A Critical Review of the Equal Environment
    Assumption Test Literature     

    CHAPTER 10      
    Bipolar Disorder and Genetics  

    CHAPTER 11   
    Genotype or Genohype? The Fruitless Search for Genes in Psychiatry     

    Contact Information:
    Publisher: Algora Publishing. Website: www.algora.com. E-mail:

    Author: Jay Joseph, Psy.D., P.O. Box 5653, Berkeley, CA, 94705-5653, USA.
    E-mail: jayjoseph22@gmail.com

    Ordering: Bookstores and other retailers can order The Missing Gene from
    Ingram and other major distributors.