Generation Scotland

Genetics Illuminates the Darkness of Depression

Generation Scotland data helps to identify 44 genetic loci significantly linked to Major Depressive Disorder risk.

Genetics and Depression

New genes related to depression were identified in a study published this week in Nature Genetics. Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a common illness accompanied by considerable morbidity, mortality, costs, and heightened risk of suicide. Identifying the regions of the genome associated with depression is challenging, however, depression is likely influenced by a variety of genes, with each having a small effect. To detect genetic signals, large-scale studies are required.

Generation Scotland was one of seven cohorts with detailed genetic and clinical information which, when combined, summed to over 135,000 cases and 344,000 controls. The study identified 44 genetic loci that were significantly linked to risk of MDD. There were findings in common too with genes known to influence the risk of schizophrenia, a more severe form of mental illness, and to other brain and body traits.

The authors also found that having lower levels of education or a higher body mass index can potentially promote depression. These results provide new insights into the genetic basis behind depression and lay the groundwork for new therapeutic interventions.

The large number of genes now identified provides a way forward to better understanding how these combine with lifestyle and other factors, such as stressful life events, to increase or protect against risk and response to treatment.  

 

The published article can be found in the link below:

Genome-wide association analyses identify 44 risk variants and refine the genetic architecture of major depression

 

See the links below for news articles on this publication:

The Guardian - 'Gene map for depression' sparks hopes of new generation of treatments

Science Daily - Forty-four genomic variants linked to major depression

Business Standard - Over 40 genes associated with depression identified

Huffington Post - 'Game-Changing' Depression Study Discovers 44 Genes Linked To Mental Illness