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Kendall, K. M.; Assche, E. van; Andlauer, T. F. M.; Choi, K. W.; Luykx, J. J.; Schulte, E. C. and Lu, Y. (2021): The genetic basis of major depression. In: Psychological Medicine, Vol. 51, No. 13: pp. 2217-2230

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Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a common, debilitating, phenotypically heterogeneous disorder with heritability ranges from 30% to 50%. Compared to other psychiatric disorders, its high prevalence, moderate heritability, and strong polygenicity have posed major challenges for gene-mapping in MDD. Studies of common genetic variation in MDD, driven by large international collaborations such as the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, have confirmed the highly polygenic nature of the disorder and implicated over 100 genetic risk loci to date. Rare copy number variants associated with MDD risk were also recently identified. The goal of this review is to present a broad picture of our current understanding of the epidemiology, genetic epidemiology, molecular genetics, and gene-environment interplay in MDD. Insights into the impact of genetic factors on the aetiology of this complex disorder hold great promise for improving clinical care.

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