Genetic testing has brought to light some interesting finding about depression. We are moving towards an epidemic of depression; it is estimated that by 2020 the most widespread disease in the western world will be depression. We already know that depression runs in families and children are more likely to suffer from depression if their parents suffered from the condition – in fact, they may be up to 3 times more likely to develop the condition.
So much has been going on in the field of genetics. Scientists are finding solutions and making discoveries which are having a huge impact on people’s lives: these might include studies on disease-causing genes or genetic testing and menopause onset. Genes cannot solely be blamed for the development of depression or mood disorders in individuals. Most scientists, psychiatrists and psychologists see both environmental and genetic factors as playing a role. A 2003 genetic study on depression actually singled out a gene from DNA which scientists believed was responsible for depression- they called the gene the serotonin gene. Further studies over the past years have tried to replicate the study and investigate the matter further and some have even question or dismissed the studies that linked depression with the serotonin link.
Genetic testing, Twin studies and depression
Identical genetic blueprints in monozygotic twins (identical twins) have made twin studies very useful at determining whether diseases are purely genetic or not. Studies have shown that if identical twins are raised together and 1 twin develops depression, the other twin will in most cases develop the condition. Even in cases where identical twins are raised apart, if one twin suffers from depression there is a 67% chance that the second twin will also develop the condition. Again, undoubtedly, environmental conditions also play a significant role.
Genetic testing and gene studies have shown a link between bipolar depression and clinical depression with scientists believing that the same genes are responsible for each.