Scientists at the University of Edinburgh have identified nearly 80 genes that could be associated with depression. Researchers say the genetic basis could possibly help explain the variations in the risk of developing depression among different individuals. The findings were published in the journal Nature Communications.
Depression is a complex disorder with several aetiologic theories. Life events, such as trauma or stress, may have an important role in its onset; however, it is not clearly understood why certain individuals have a higher likelihood of developing the condition.
The researchers analysed data from the UK Biobank. The genetic code of 300,000 individuals was scanned for identifying DNA regions that could be linked to depression. Some of the identified genes are believed to influence the function of synapses, the primary neuronal communication structures. The findings were further confirmed by correlating with anonymised data obtained from a genetics and research company and used with the consent of donors.
Dr David Howard, lead author of the study, commented: "The findings also provide new clues to the causes of depression and we hope it will narrow down the search for therapies that could help people living with the condition."