The Genetics of Depression: “Look to the Environment”


A comprehensive review of research on the genetics of depression up to 2012, published online today by Psychological Bulletin, finds “a continued lack of consistency … in both candidate gene and genome-wide association studies.” The London-based researchers state that “The conflicting results are also probably, in part, a consequence of environmental factors not being considered or controlled for … We suggest that, where possible, more emphasis should be placed on the environment in molecular behavioral genetics …”

Abstract → Cohen-Woods, S., I.W. Craig, et al. “The Current State of Play on the Molecular Genetics of Depression.Psychological Medicine: online June 13, 2012


Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.


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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].


  1. Molecular Behavioral Genetics. This phrase sends cold chills down my spine. It sounds like the marriage of Big Ag and Big Pharma, Monsanto merged with Astra-Zeneca. The next step is to monetize this, you will be able to go to your technician and select for the behavioral traits you prefer in your kids.

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