Bipolar disorder (BD) is a worldwide highly prevalent mental disease. This disorder has a genetic inheritance characterized by complex transmission mechanisms involving multiple genes. Many investigation strategies have been put forward in order to identify BD susceptibility genes. Linkage studies reveal markers and candidate genes for the association studies. Monoaminergic system genes and intracellular signaling pathway genes are also important candidates to be investigated in the etiology of this disorder. Recent techniques of gene expression mapping suggest novel genes whose mutations may be responsible for BD. Due to the complexity of the transmission pattern for BD and its phenotypic heterogeneity many difficulties have emerged to exactly define bipolar susceptibility genes. There is currently only preliminary results of genes associated with BD. However, the increasing understanding of gene expression regulation by epigenetic mechanisms and the dimensional approach to mental disorders can give directions for further research in psychiatric genetics.