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Suppose Anne has a condition like OCD, that has a significant genetic component. Neither of Anne's parents have OCD, though. Does this mean that each of Anne's OCD genes were carried by at least one of her parents?

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Many things are possible theoretically. Consider the following hypothetical example for illustration. Imagine, if you had two genetic variants A and B affecting a trait with the following probabilities

AA: 5% chance of having OCD

AB: 10% chance of having OCD

BB: 20% chance of having OCD

In this case, clearly having OCD has a genetic component, and yet no matter which genes a person has (and its parents had), it is possible for that person to get OCD. Probabilistically, however, they have increased risk if they inherit certain genetic variants over others.

In practice, most common psychatric disorders tend to be highly polygenic. I have answered a similar question (Q: Bipolar disorder genetics) of yours which may be relevant again.

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  • $\begingroup$ This is a correct answer and could be improved with a reference. I realize this is basic textbook level information, but that makes the reference easy. I'd suggest wherever you learned about this, or possibly Thompson & Thompson Genetics, Ch. 8. There is a discussion about this here. Feel free to contribute! $\endgroup$ – De Novo Feb 26 at 18:59

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