Genetic Association

We explore ethical premises and practical implications of using genetic testing to predict suicide risk. Twin studies indicate heritable components of suicide risk, intertwined with the heritability of mental disorders, and possibly other traits. Current genetics research has abandoned searching for single gene Mendelian determinants, in favour of complex probabilistic epigenetic models. Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWAS) might identify thousands of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), each contributing very little to the variance associated with behavioral phenotypes.
Graphical abstract of article
Environmental risk factors, including physicochemical agents, noise and mental stress, have a considerable impact on human health. This environmental exposure may lead to epigenetic reprogramming, including changes in non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) signatures, which can contribute to the pathophysiology state. Oxidative stress is one of the results of this environmental disturbance by modifying cellular processes such as apoptosis, signal transduction cascades, and DNA repair mechanisms.
Neuropathic pain (NeuP) arises due to injury of the somatosensory nervous system and is both common and disabling, rendering an urgent need for non-addictive, effective new therapies. Given the high evolutionary conservation of pain, investigative approaches from Drosophila mutagenesis to human Mendelian genetics have aided our understanding of the maladaptive plasticity underlying NeuP. Successes include the identification of ion channel variants causing hyper-excitability and the importance of neuro-immune signaling.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a severe and disabling psychiatric disorder that presents several challenges for neuroscience. Recent advances in its genetic and developmental causation, as well as its neuropsychological basis, are reviewed. Hypotheses concerning an imbalance between goal-directed and habitual behavior together with neural correlates in cortico-striatal circuitry are evaluated and contrasted with metacognitive theories.
There have been several recent studies addressing the genetic architecture of depression. This review serves to take stock of what is known now about the genetics of depression, how it has increased our knowledge and understanding of its mechanisms, and how the information and knowledge can be leveraged to improve the care of people affected.