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Biol Psychiatry. 2010 Nov 1;68(9):811-7. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2010.06.030. Epub 2010 Aug 25.

Genome-wide association scan of trait depression.

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  • 1National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, Baltimore, Maryland 21224, USA.



Independent of temporal circumstances, some individuals have greater susceptibility to depressive affects, such as feelings of guilt, sadness, hopelessness, and loneliness. Identifying the genetic variants that contribute to these individual differences can point to biological pathways etiologically involved in psychiatric disorders.


Genome-wide association scans for the depression scale of the Revised NEO Personality Inventory in community-based samples from a genetically homogeneous area of Sardinia, Italy (n = 3972) and from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging in the United States (n = 839).


Meta-analytic results for genotyped or imputed single nucleotide polymorphisms indicate that the strongest association signals for trait depression were found in RORA (rs12912233; p = 6 × 10⁻⁷), a gene involved in circadian rhythm. A plausible biological association was also found with single nucleotide polymorphisms within GRM8 (rs17864092; p = 5 × 10⁻⁶), a metabotropic receptor for glutamate, a major excitatory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system.


These findings suggest shared genetic basis underlying the continuum from personality traits to psychopathology.

Published by Elsevier Inc.

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