Dissecting the biology of feeding and eating disorders

Laura M. Huckins, Kristen Brennand, Cynthia M. Bulik

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Feeding and eating disorders (FEDs) are heterogenous and characterized by varying patterns of dysregulated eating and weight. Genome-wide association studies (GWASs) are clarifying their underlying biology and their genetic relationship to other psychiatric and metabolic/anthropometric traits. Genetic research on anorexia nervosa (AN) has identified eight significant loci and uncovered genetic correlations implicating both psychiatric and metabolic/anthropometric risk factors. Careful explication of these metabolic contributors may be key to developing effective and enduring treatments for devastating, life-altering, and frequently lethal illnesses. We discuss clinical phenomenology, genomics, phenomics, intestinal microbiota, and functional genomics and propose a path that translates variants to genes, genes to pathways, and pathways to metabolic outcomes to advance the science and eventually treatment of FEDs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)380-391
Number of pages12
JournalTrends in Molecular Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • eating disorders
  • epidemiology
  • functional genomics
  • genomics
  • microbiota


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