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'Now the Hard Work'

New research is beginning to shed light on the genetic underpinnings of a range of mental illnesses, Business Insider reports.

Massachusetts General Hospital's Roy Perlis told Business Insider a few years ago that linking genes to conditions like depression underscores that mental illness has a biological basis and is "not someone's fault." Further, by better understanding how certain gene variants influence risk of depression or anxiety, for instance, researchers could begin to develop treatments that target where in the brain those genes make their effect known, Business Insider now adds.

Perlis and other researchers have been linking certain gene variants to depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Using 23andMe data, Business Insider notes that Perlis has linked 17 variants to depression, while the Broad Institute's Hyun Ji Noh has linked variants in four genes to OCD using data from both humans and dogs.

"[T]his is really just the beginning," Perlis says. "Now the hard work is understanding what these findings tell us about how we might better treat [these disorders]."