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23andMe, Lundbeck, Milken Institute Partner on Depressive, Bipolar Disorders Study

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – 23andMe announced today that it has begun enrollment in a study that will combine cognitive assessments with genetic data and survey responses to gain insights into the causes of major depressive and bipolar disorders.

23andMe will work with the Milken Institute and Lundbeck to recruit 15,000 people who have been diagnosed with major depressive disorder and 10,000 people who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Participants will receive the 23andMe Personal Genome service at no cost and provide a saliva sample for DNA genotyping. They will also complete nine monthly online cognitive assessment sessions. Participants' deidentified data will be analyzed in order to determine how genetics and environmental factors contribute to brain function and behavior.

"We know genetics play a role in the development of depression and bipolar, however there is a long pathway from our genes to the manifestation of complex diseases like these," Emily Drabant Conley, vice president of business development at 23andMe, said in a statement. "We need to look at these conditions in a more comprehensive way to advance our understanding. By studying cognitive function alongside genetics and other environmental variables on a massive scale, we hope to take a significant step forward in the study of depression and bipolar."

About a year ago, researchers from 23andMe, Pfizer Global Research and Development, and the Massachusetts General Hospital published a study that used data from hundreds of thousands of 23andMe customers to identify 15 genetic loci linked to the risk of major depressive disorder in individuals of European descent.