Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Study Uncovers New Details About Genetics of Suicide

A new study appearing in Molecular Psychiatry has identified a number of loci associated with suicide, adding to the body of data suggesting that genetics play a role in the behavior. Recent research has linked genetics with both suicidal behavior and different psychiatric disorders that are known to contribute to such behavior. In the new study, a team led by scientists from the University of Utah and Janssen Research & Development performed a meta-analysis for suicide death using 3,765 cases from Utah and 6,572 populational controls. A meta-analysis for suicidal behavior — which includes both suicide deaths and attempts — across 8,315 cases and 256,478 psychiatric or populational controls was also performed. They identify one locus in the gene neuroligin 1 (NLGN1) with genome-wide significance. Importantly, NLGN1 encodes a member of a family of neuronal cell surface proteins with members that act as splice site-specific ligands for beta-neurexins (NRXN) with potential roles in synaptogenesis. The NRXN-NLGN pathway, the study's authors note, has been implicated in suicide, autism, and schizophrenia. Other findings include loci associated with suicide attempts.