Newly Identified Genome Variants for Depression

Scientists identified 44 genomic variants that are closely associated with depression, according to a new study published on April 26, 2018.

Over 200 scientists working with the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, globally conducted a study to find an association between genome variants and depression. The study included over 135,000 people suffering from major depression and over 344,000 controls, which further resulted in the successful identification of 44 genomic variants that are statistically association with depression.

The study identified 153 significant genes as well as identified that major depression shared six loci with that associated with schizophrenia.

“This study is a game-changer. Figuring out the genetic basis of major depression has been really hard. A huge number of researchers across the world collaborated to make this paper, and we now have a deeper look than ever before into the basis of this awful and impairing human malady. With more work, we should be able to develop tools important for treatment and even prevention of major depression.” Said Sullivan, lead author of the study.

“We show that we all carry genetic variants for depression, but those with a higher burden are more susceptible. We know that many life experiences also contribute to risk of depression, but identifying the genetic factors opens new doors for research into the biological drivers.” Said Wray, co-author of the study.

“First, it reaffirms the value of large-scale collaborations, particularly in identifying the complex genetics underlying psychiatric illness. Second, it confirms the genetic roots for depression, offering important biological clues that we hope will lead to new and better treatments,” He added.

The results obtained from this research can be used to improve therapies to treat depression.   The genetic basis of depressive disorder overlaps with that for bipolar disorder and Schizophrenia as well as obesity and multiple measures of sleep quality, including daytime sleepiness, insomnia, and tiredness.

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