News of the WeekDepression Gene

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Science  26 Jun 2009:
Vol. 324, Issue 5935, pp. 1628
DOI: 10.1126/science.324_1628

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In 2003, researchers landed a huge catch: a gene variant that seemed to play a major role in whether people get depressed in response to life's stresses or sail through. The find, a polymorphism related to the neurotransmitter serotonin, was heralded as a prime example of "gene-environment interaction": whereby an environmental trigger influences the activity of a gene in a way that confers susceptibility. But an exhaustive new meta-analysis published last week in The Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that the big fish may be a minnow at best. A different team reanalyzed data from 14 studies, including the original one, and found that the cumulative data fail to support a connection between the gene, life stress, and depression.