Genetic screening for susceptibility to depression: can we and should we?

Morley, K. I., Hall, W. D. and Carter, L. (2004) Genetic screening for susceptibility to depression: can we and should we?. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 38 1-2: 73-80. doi:10.1111/j.1440-1614.2004.01300.x

Author Morley, K. I.
Hall, W. D.
Carter, L.
Title Genetic screening for susceptibility to depression: can we and should we?
Journal name Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0004-8674
Publication date 2004-01-01
Year available 2004
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1440-1614.2004.01300.x
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 38
Issue 1-2
Start page 73
End page 80
Total pages 8
Place of publication Sydney
Publisher Blackwell Publishing Asia
Language eng
Subject C1
321213 Human Bioethics
730307 Health policy evaluation
220101 Bioethics (human and animal)
160508 Health Policy
Abstract Objective: To summarize current knowledge about genetic susceptibility to mood disorders and examine ethical and policy issues that will need to be addressed if robustly replicated susceptibility alleles lead to proposals to screen and intervene with persons at increased genetic risk of developing mood disorders. Method: Empirical studies and reviews of the genetics of unipolar and bipolar depression were collected via MEDLINE and psycINFO database searches. Results: A number of candidate genes for depression have been identified, each of which increases the risk of mood disorders two- or threefold. None of the associations between these alleles and mood disorders have been consistently reported to date. Conclusions: Screening the population for genetic susceptibility to mood disorders is unlikely to be a practically useful policy (given plausible assumptions). Until there are effective treatments for persons at increased risk, screening is arguably unethical. Screening within affected families to advise on risks of developing depression would entail screening children and adolescents, raising potentially serious ethical issues of consent and stigmatization. Genetic research on depression should continue under appropriate ethical guidelines that protect the interests of research participants.
Keyword Depression
Genetic Screening
Bipolar Affective-disorder
Unipolar Affective-disorders
Serotonin Transporter
Major Depression
Mood Disorders
Ethical Issues
Complex Disease
Unmet Needs
Q-Index Code C1
Institutional Status UQ

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Created: Wed, 15 Aug 2007, 14:29:59 EST