Thirty new genetic variants of depression have just been discovered. This brings to 44 the number of genetic risk factors in severe depression.
In a previous study, American researchers had identified 17 genetic mutations likely to promote the risk of major depressive disorder. A new study by the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium and co-directed in the UK by King’s College London has identified about 30 additional genetic variants, bringing to 44 the number of genetic risk factors in severe depression.
Major depression affects about 14% of the world’s population but only half of the patients respond well to existing treatments.
“The new genetic variants discovered have the potential to pave the way for the discovery of new and improved therapies,” says Dr. Breen of King’s College London, cited by Medical XPress.
More than 200 researchers, including Americans and Australians, participated in this large-scale study that included the genetic data of more than 135,000 people with major depression.
The previous American study was conducted on the genome of 75,607 Europeans diagnosed as being in depression or treated for this disease. 231,747 people with no history of depression were also included in that study.
“But we need to continue research to understand how genetics and environmental stressors work together to increase the risk of depression,” says Dr. Breen.