Supported by funding from Wellcome and the Medical Research Council, scientists at Edinburgh University have analysed the health and DNA records of over 2 million people across the globe and were able to identify 269 genes linked to depression. This could help us to understand the origins of depression and understand the different personality types that could be at risk of developing the condition. Researchers from the Genetic Links to Anxiety and Depression (Glad) Study, identified sections of DNA common in people with depression and in those who choose to smoke, and think that depression could be a driving factor leading some people to smoke. They also found neuroticism could lead people to become depressed.
Sophie Dix, director of research at mental health charity MQ, said: “The power of this big genetic study is that it can point to systems in the brain which adds to our currently limited understanding in this area. By increasing our understanding of these systems, and how the social environment affects biological risk factors, we can begin to identify new targets for treatments that could help the millions of people worldwide affected by depression.”
“Study identifies genes newly linked to depression“
Lead researcher, Professor Andrew McIntosh, University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences, said: “These findings are further evidence that depression is partly down to our genetics. We hope that by launching the GLAD study, we will be able to find out more about why some people are more at risk than others of mental health conditions, and how we might help people living with depression and anxiety more effectively in future.”