Study suggests that individuals affected by depression might have genes associated with anxiety, worry and low mood.
The researchers from University of Edinburg in UK have studied the DNA of over 3,000 people and found many related to neuroticism and characterised by feelings of nervousness, anxiety, worry and guilt. The genes are also linked with depression.
Depression, which affects one in every five people, is caused by a number of things going on in a person’s life.
The studies analysed genetic information from a group of people aged from 39 to 73 years whose levels of neuroticism had been measured by a personality questionnaire.
DNA analysis, including the personality questionnaire, revealed 116 gene variations connected to neuroticism.
The researchers found that the genes associated with neuroticism had some links with genes associated with susceptibility to depression and other psychiatric conditions. More than half of the genetic variations associated with neuroticism are expressed in the brain.
Michelle Luciano of Edinburgh University said, “These discoveries promise paths to understand the mechanisms whereby some people become depressed, and of broader human differences in happiness. They are a resource for those seeking treatment for depression.”
Ian Deary from University of Edinburgh said, “For millennia, it has been recognised that people have a greater or lesser tendency to feel low, worry, and experience other negative emotions.”
“We knew that a part of the explanation is genetic differences between people, but it’s been a mystery which genes are involved. These new results make a substantial contribution to solving that mystery by pointing to many specific places in the genome that are linked with neuroticism,” Deary added.