Genes linked to mental illnesses identified
Last Updated: Friday, November 27, 2009, 00:00

London: In a discovery that may help develop
new ways to treat psychiatric illness, scientists have
identified a gene responsible for the conditions like
depression and schizophrenia.

An international team of researchers found the gene --
ABCA13 -- after comparing genes of 2,000 psychiatric patients
to 2,000 healthy people.

The study, which was published in the American Journal of
Human Genetics, found that it was partially inactive in
patients suffering with severe mental illnesses.

One of the researchers Ben Pickard of the University of
Strathclyde said, "It strongly suggests that this gene may
regulate an important part of brain function that fails in
individuals diagnosed with these devastating disorders."

"The discovery would help the development of new drugs to
treat mental illness," said lead researcher Douglas Blackwood
from the University of Edinburgh.

He said, "This is an exciting step forward in our
understanding of the underlying causes of some common mental
illnesses. These risk genes could signpost new directions for

The study is the first to identify multiple points of DNA
damage within a single gene that are linked with psychiatric
illness, The Telegraph reported.

Pickard said that the team believes that ABCA13
influences the way fat molecules are used in the brain and
that they are now focused on finding out exactly how that


First Published: Friday, November 27, 2009, 00:00

comments powered by Disqus