Genetics of Depression: Progress at Last

Niamh Mullins, Cathryn M. Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Purpose of Review: We will describe the success of recent genome-wide association studies that identify genetic variants associated with depression and outline the strategies used to reduce heterogeneity and increase sample size. Recent Findings: The CONVERGE consortium identified two genetic associations by focusing on a sample of Chinese women with recurrent severe depression. Three other loci have been found in Europeans by combining cohorts with clinical diagnosis and measures of depressive symptoms to increase sample size. 23andMe identified 15 loci associated with depression using self-report of clinical diagnosis in a study of over 300,000 individuals. Summary: The first genetic associations with depression have been identified, and this number is now expected to increase linearly with sample size, as seen in other polygenic disorders. These loci provide invaluable insights into the biology of depression and exciting opportunities to develop new biomarkers and therapeutic targets.

Original languageEnglish
Article number43
JournalCurrent Psychiatry Reports
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Depression
  • Genetics
  • Genome-wide association study
  • Heterogeneity
  • Polygenic


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