Researchers Pinpoint 6 Genes Linked to Mental Health


A new report that studied genetic variants linked to mental health was published in the American Journal of Psychiatry on January 7, 2020, documenting the results of a large genome-wide analysis of 200,000 military veterans. The study led by Joel Gelernter, the Foundations Fund Professor of Psychiatry, professor of genetics and of neuroscience at Yale reported "This is the richest set of results for the genetic basis of anxiety to date." A key focus for the Million Veteran Program is to understand the mechanisms underlying mental health challenges. Yale scientists analyzed data gathered from the program to find genetic variants that link to anxiety.

One gene variant was of particular interest - the MAD1L1 gene that has been found to be implicated in those suffering with specific mental health challenges. In total, Gelernter and his team identified six variants linked to anxiety. 

Yale's researchers collaborated with the Veteran Affairs Connecticut Healthcare System, VA San Diego Healthcare System, and the University of California San Diego for the purposes of this study. Further research is warranted to continue the studies into genes that are associated with risk factors for mental health behavioural traits. 


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