Wednesday, June 17, 2009

NYT article on depression genetics   posted by ben g @ 6/17/2009 07:37:00 AM

A family member just sent me this New York Times article on the recent failure to replicate a serotonin gene associated with depression in a meta-analysis by Risch and Merikangas. It gives a pretty good overview, but I think the article might be misleading in two ways:

First, beginning with the title "Report on Gene for Depression Is Now Faulted" will confuse people into thinking that the genetics behind depression will be simple, when in fact the reigning theory is that large numbers of genetic (and environmental) variants influence such complex mental traits.

Second, the critics of depression genetics make misleading points:
By contrast, she said, a major stressful event, like divorce, in itself raised the risk of depression by 40 percent.
Stressful life events are themselves quite heritable.