Legacy of German psychiatric genetics: hindsight is always 20/20.

I. I. Gottesman, A. Bertelsen

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

41 Scopus citations


The history of psychiatric genetics is informed by this paper, which serves to review the legacy of German psychiatric genetics and its antecedents during the twentieth century. It also serves as an introduction to two new annotated abstracts of basic research papers on family studies of schizophrenia by Ernst Rüdin in 1916 and by Bruno Schulz in 1932, submitted by Kenneth Kendler and Edith Zerbin-Rüdin, together with another paper by them describing the origin and activities of Rüdin's Munich School of Psychiatric Genetics (1917-1945). Our paper also introduces an invited critical summary of the work of Ernst Rüdin by his biographer Matthias M. Weber, a medical historian working in the Historical Archives of the Clinical Institute of the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich. We raise a number of bioethical questions in the context of the uses and misuses made of genetic information in the service of the Nazi programs of eugenics, "euthanasia," and genocide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)317-322
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Medical Genetics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 26 1996


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