The genetics of depressive disorders
Schulte-Körne G, Allgaier AK.
Klinik für Kinder- und Jugendpsychiatrie,
Psychosomatik und Psychotherapie,
Klinikum der Universität München.
Z Kinder Jugendpsychiatr Psychother. 2008 Jan;36(1):27-43.


Among the most common severe psychiatric disorders worldwide, depressive disorders are a leading cause of morbidity, the onset usually occurring during childhood or adolescence. Symptomatology, prevalence, outcome and treatment differentiate depressive disorder nosologically as being either unipolar depression or bipolar disorder, which is characterized by one or more episodes of mania with or without episodes of depression. Genetic factors decisively influence the susceptibility to depressive disorders. Family studies and twin studies have been essential in defining the magnitude of familial risk and liability to heritability, particularly in the case of bipolar disorder. In recent years, linkage and association studies have made great strides towards identifying candidate genes. Particularly the s-allele of the serotonin transporter has been repeatedly confirmed to be a risk factor. Meta-analyses suggest, however, that the genetic contributions of the ascertained loci are relatively small. Along with genetic factors, environmental factors are heavily involved. Gene-environment action plays a pivotal role, particularly in unipolar depression. The genetic disposition seems to be modulated by a protective or pathogenic environment. Early-onset disorders must be further investigated in future as studies to date are somewhat limited.
Unipolar mania
Private eugenics
'Designer babies'
Personal genomics
Depression genetics
Genetic enhancement
Ashkenazi intelligence
Eugenics before Galton
Scandanavian eugenics
The literature of eugenics
Human self-domestication
Germline genetic engineering
Preimplantation genetic diagnosis
A life without pain? Hedonists take note'
Francis Galton and contemporary eugenics
Affective temperaments and mood disorders
Gene therapy and performance enhancement
Molecular genetics of bipolar disorder and depression
Genetic correlates of phenotypes in major depressive disorder

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