Genotype x environment interaction for depression [ 2007 - 2009 ]

Research Grant

[Cite as]

Researchers: Prof Nicholas Martin (Principal investigator) ,  Dr Michael James Prof Lindon Eaves Prof Peter Visscher

Brief description It is now well established that there are genetic factors contributing to risk of depression but it is far from clear what these are and how they interact with environmental risk factors such as stressful life events (SLE) and poor social support (SS). A recent, highly cited paper has claimed that those carrying a particular genotype at the sertonin transporter gene are much more badly affected by stressful life events than other genotypes, and that this puts these people at much higher risk of depression. If true, this could have important practical implications for preventative mental health, in identifying those at greatest risk if depression and counselling them to avoid stressful situations. However, success in replicating this finding has been mixed, and this is possibly because another important risk factor, social support, has not been taken into account. We have DNA samples from over 5000 twins who have been assessed for depression and risk factors including SLE and SS. This will give us unprecedented power to estimate the importance of the genotype x environment interaction. We shall also type other genes that have been implicated in depression and check for interactions with life events and social support. Our results will inform preventative strategies in mental health practice.

Funding Amount $AUD 397,246.74

Funding Scheme NHMRC Project Grants

Notes Standard Project Grant

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