Depression risk may be influenced by Neanderthal DNA

by Beatrice Credi - 2016.02.16

A person’s risk of becoming depressed may be influenced by DNA inherited from Neanderthals. In a new study, released by the journal Science, the researchers focused on bits of Neanderthal DNA that had been identified in prior research. They looked for effects from about 1,500 of those bits in the medical records of some 28,000 Americans of European ancestry for whom they had genetic information. One analysis supported a previously suggested influence on the risk of depression, with some DNA bits raising the risk and others lowering it. The study also linked Neanderthal DNA to risk for some other modern conditions, such as the scaly skin patches called actinic keratoses, urinary-system symptoms and an unusually strong tendency toward blood clotting.

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