During a research project at University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG), scientists were able to identify several genes which could influence the development of psychiatric disorders.
Translation by Thomas Ansell
Some genes may also influence the development of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, which appears to have a shared genetic background with depression. The international study also found a new gene that appears to be associated with depression. The research fits into a recent series of studies that show the possibilities of tracing the genetic background of psychiatric illnesses and conditions. The original research was published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.
The Groninger Internet Courant reports that genetic markers for depression are a recent discovery, but extensive progress has been made in recent years. Scientists have only been able to map the human genome for the past decade, and have recently been able to discern a link between certain genetic make-ups and depression.
The researchers at the UMCG were following several very large studies, but had a somewhat different approach, using published data to help bolster their research which combined studies on depression with two other psychiatric conditions: schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Both of these illnesses have a shared genetic background with depression, and this hereditary overlap allowed the researchers to find new genetic markers for depression.
20 genetic markers
Overall, this new approach yielded 20 new genetic markers. In a press release from UMCG< principal investigator and genetic epidemiologist Harold Snieder said, “This type of research is very promising and can lead to further discoveries when applied to other complex psychological or physical disorders. We are slowly learning more about the underlying biological mechanisms, but there is still a long way to go.” Nevertheless, researchers are optimistic about the promising results and what they could mean for early diagnosis and treatment.