At least one in a hundred people suffer from severe mania and depression, while many more have milder mood fluctuations. Until recently mood swings were attributed to life experiences. But as Samuel Barondes shows, scientists have not only demonstrated that there is an inherited predisposition to mania and depression but are on their way to finding the specific gene variants that are involved. Drawing on the latest research, he describes the dramatic hunt for such 'mood genes', the new treatments this will lead to, and the ethical issues raised by their discovery. Should people (and foetuses) have their mood genes examined to assess their predisposition to mood disorders? Will new treatments of mood disorders adversely affect positive character traits? In dealing with the specific issues raised by mood disorders, Mood Genes is a compelling introduction to genetic studies of human behaviour.
Derek Bickerton, The New York Times Book Review