Is a Single Gene Responsible for Mental Illness?
It's a debate as old as science. Are depression and other conditions caused by "nature or nurture?" In other words, are we genetically programmed to have these conditions, or do they develop as a result of the environment and circumstances in which we live?
In 2003, scientists determined that a single gene was a big indicator of a person's risk of depression. This finding was huge because it offered a genetic rreason for why some people bounce back after stressful events while other people fall into depression.
Now, a new report from several prominent researchers suggests that precisely determining such risk factors isn't that simple, AND that the original study findings could have been just "chance."
Dr Kenneth S. Kendler, professor of psychiatry and human genetics at Virginia Commonwealth University commented:
"This gene/life experience paradigm has been very influential in psychiatry, both in the studies people have done and the way data has been interpreted, and I think this paper really takes the wind out of its sails."
Researchers have attempted to replicate the findings of genetics from the 2003 study in several other studies. Results have been mixed.
I want to know what YOU think. Please click the "Add Comment" link below and tell me -- Do you think depression is caused by genetics, environment and events, or a combination of the two. Please, speak up on this!
Carey, Benedict. "Report on Gene for Depression Is Now Faulted." New York Times. June 16, 2009.