More than 200 scientists working in the worldwide Psychiatric Genomics Consortium have identified a combination of 44 genetic variations that seem to underlie major clinical depression, a malady affecting an estimated 350 million people worldwide.
The researchers compared genomes of 135,000 people suffering from the illness, with 344,000 people not having the condition. Of the 44 culprits the study found, 30 variations were previously unknown. The more variations a person carries, the more likely the person is to be unable to resist depression.
The genetic component of depression has been elusive until now, partly because no such large analysis of genomic data had been undertaken.
The study also found overlaps between the genetic triggers of depression and those of obesity and sleep disturbances.
TRENDPOST: The study lays a foundation for genetically engineering a cure, or even prevention, for depression.