International Team Improves Understanding of Genetic Basis of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)

July 16, 2015, —The CONVERGE Consortium identifies two robust genetic variants for major depressive disorder (MDD). The findings, published online today in Nature, help enhance understanding of the genetic basis of MDD.

The CONVERGE Consortium is comprised of international research organizations, including BGI, University of Oxford, Virginia Commonwealth University, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and the Peking Union Medical College.

Major Depressive Disorder, one of the most frequently encountered forms of mental illness and a leading cause of disability worldwide, poses a major challenge to genetic analysis. However, no robustly replicated genetic variants have been identified despite analysis of more than 9,000 cases.

In the study, researchers conducted low-coverage whole-genome sequencing on 5,303 Chinese women with recurrent MDD and 5,337 healthy con­trols. They identified two genetic variants contributing to risk of MDD on chromosome 10: one near the SIRT1 gene, the other in an intron of the LHPP gene. SIRT1 gene is involved in mitochondrial biogenesis, thus suggests the implication between mitochondria and MDD.

Qibin Li, project leader at BGI, said, ‘we are glad to be part of The CONVERGE Consortium. The study provides insights into the molecular mechanisms of MDD, which may potentially help to discover and treat this common complex disease in the future. But we still need to realize that more remains to be discovered.’

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