Columbia University Medical Center
NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital The University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell
June 16, 2009

One of the most celebrated findings in modern psychiatry — that a single gene helps determine one’s risk of depression in response to a divorce, a lost job or another serious reversal — has not held up to scientific scrutiny, researchers reported Tuesday…. The new report, by several of the most prominent researchers in the field, does not imply that interactions between genes and life experience are trivial; they are almost certainly fundamental, experts agree. But it does suggest that nailing down those factors in a precise way is far more difficult than scientists believed even a few years ago, and that the original finding could have been due to chance…. “This is an excellent review paper, no one is questioning that,” said Myrna Weissman, a professor of epidemiology and psychiatry at Columbia. “But it ignored extensive evidence from humans and animals linking excessive sensitivity to stress” to the serotonin gene..

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