Friday, January 2, 2015
Genetics Research of Depression
Research on the genetics of depression and other mental illnesses is a priority of NIMH and constitutes a critical component of the Institute’s multi-level research effort.
Researchers are increasingly certain that genes play an important role in vulnerability to depression and other severe mental disorders.
In recent years, the search for a single, defective gene responsible for each mental illness has given way to the understanding that multiple gene variants, acting together with yet unknown environmental risk factors or developmental events, account for the expression of psychiatric disorders.
Identification of these genes, each of which contributes only a small effect, has proven extremely difficult.
However, new technologies, which continue to be developed and refined, are beginning to allow researchers to associate genetic variations with disease.
In the next decade, two large-scale projects that involve identifying and sequencing all human genes and gene variants will be completed and are expected to yield valuable insights into the causes of mental disorders and the development of better treatments.
In addition, NIMH is currently soliciting researchers to contribute to the development of a large-scale database of genetic information that will facilitate efforts to identify susceptibility genes for depression and other mental disorders.