44 depression-linked genes identified in largest risk-factor study yet

(Sarah Sloat/ Inverse) — Major depressive disorder is a common, potentially debilitating illness that be chronic or strike repeatedly. Fourteen percent of the global population experiences depression, but only half of those people respond positively to existing treatments.

Fortunately, it seems that the success rate will improve after a new study: Scientists announced in Nature Genetics on Thursday that they’ve pinpointed 44 genetic variants that risk factors for depression. Thirty of these genes have never been identified before.

We already know the development of depression is, in part, affected by genetics. Previous studies on twins showed that the heritability of major depressive disorder is about 37 percent, and earlier this month, scientists announced they’d found 80 genes linked to depression.

In this new study, written by multidisciplinary researchers associated with the international Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, the authors reveal that 44 regions of the genome influence depression and that “all humans carry lesser or greater numbers of genetic risk factors for major depression.” (…)

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