New DNA Regions Linked to Depression

HealthDay News — Researchers have identified 15 regions of DNA linked to depression, according to research published in Nature Genetics.

The researchers analyzed data from 307,354 individuals of European ancestry collected by the consumer genetic profiling company 23andMe. Of the study participants, 75,607 had been diagnosed with or treated for depression.

The analysis pinpointed 15 regions of DNA, including 17 specific sites, significantly associated with depression risk. Several of these sites are located in or near genes known to be involved in brain development.

“Identifying genes that affect risk for a disease is a first step towards understanding the disease biology itself, which gives us targets to aim for in developing new treatments,” study author Roy Perlis, MD, of the Center for Human Genetic Research at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, said in a hospital news release. “We hope that finding these genes will point us toward novel treatment strategies.”

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Hyde CL, Nagle MW, Tian C, et al. Identification of 15 genetic loci associated with risk of major depression in individuals of European descent. Nat Genet. 2016; doi:10.1038/ng.3623.