102 Genes Found Linked to Depression

Generation Scotland data was used in a study that found 102 genes related to depression.

Brain Scan

The international study was published this week in Nature Neuroscience and was led by the University of Edinburgh. The study involved 2 million people from 20 different countries.

Depression is a debilitating illness that 1 in 6 people will experience in their lifetime.  Identifying the genes involved with depression is challenging. This study shows depression is likely influenced by a variety of genes, each having a small effect. Researchers also found that the more gene variations someone had, the more likely they were to be depressed.

The genes involved seemed to mainly affect the front of the brain, where the complex decision-making occurs and your personality is defined. The findings shed light on other personality factors, such as a link between neuroticism and becoming depressed.

We looked to see, in around about two million people, if we could predict using genetics the people who developed depression from those who didn't.

We found that there were about a hundred or so changes in their DNA, in their genetic makeup, that made them more likely to develop the condition.

It was the people that carried over 100 who were much more likely to develop the disorder in future.

Professor Andrew McIntosh
Chair of Biological Psychiatry, Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology

The study has advanced the researchers understanding of the underlying genetics of depression and paves the way for future research. It's thought these findings could lead to better treatments or provide early warning signs that some people are at risk of developing depression.


The published article can be found in the link below:

Genome-wide meta-analysis of depression identifies 102 independent variants and highlights the importance of the prefrontal brain regions


For further news articles on this publication you can follow the links below:

BBC - Scottish researchers find 100 genes linked to depression

University of Edinburgh - Origins of depression brought into focus in large-scale genetic study