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The XVII World Congress of Psychiatric Genetics, sponsored by The International Society of Psychiatric Genetics (ISPG) took place in San Diego, California from 4 to 8 November 2009. Approximately 550 participants gathered to discuss the latest molecular genetic findings relevant to serious mental illness, including schizophrenia, mood disorders, substance abuse, autism, and attention deficit disorder. Recent advances in the field were discussed, including the genome-wide association studies results, copy number variation (CNV) in the genome, genomic imaging, and large multicenter collaborations. The following report, written by junior travel awardees who were assigned sessions as rapporteurs represents some of the areas covered in oral presentation during the conference, and reports on some of the notable major new findings described at this 2009 World Congress of Psychiatric Genetics.