Genetics foundation of anxiety and depression: Study

WION Web Team
Delhi, India Published: Jan 10, 2020, 11.47 AM(IST)

File photo. Photograph:( DNA )

Story highlights

The study explains how some people might be pre-inclined towards anxiety.

A study conducted by the American Journal of Psychiatry on 200,000 military veterans shows that genetics lay the foundation of anxiety and depression.

It has identified six genetic variants that are linked to anxiety and explains how some people might be pre-inclined towards anxiety.


The aim of the study was to evaluate the genetic structure of the symptoms and disorders associated with anxiety.

According to Daniel Levey, co-author of the study, the genome analysis is the "largest study ever" to establish a link between genes and anxiety.

Previous studies had implied that anxiety can lead to schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. 

The presence of MAD1L1, a new discovered anxiety gene variant, was also highly noteworthy as it has already been linked to severe mental illness

The co-lead author the study, Joel Gelernter, "the study provides the most substantial evidence" that identifies genetics as a basis for anxiety till date.

Researchers from the Yale University along with colleagues from Veteran Affairs Connecticut Healthcare System, VA San Diego Healthcare System, and the University of California San Diego conducted this study on the data provided by Million Veteran Program, an initiative of the Department of Veterans Affairs that analyses the impact of genes and lifestyle on the health of the veterans who participated in it.

This program uses one the world's largest biobank for genetic, medical and environmental information.

The research focuses on veterans who suffered from anxiety as a continuous trait and this anxiety was associated with Generalized Anxiety Disorder which is usually experienced by veterans who participated in a war away from home.

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