According to a recent research published in the American Journal of Human Genetics, an international team of researchers have identified a gene, ABCA13, which probably plays a crucial role in case of mental illnesses, including depression, bipolar disorders and schizophrenia.
The link between ABCA13 and psychiatric illnesses has been established by the researchers - led by Douglas Blackwood, Professor of Psychiatric Genetics at Edinburgh University - on the basis of their comparative study of the genes of 2,000 psychiatric patients and 2,000 healthy people.
The researchers found that the gene was normally faulty to the extent of being partially inactive, in patients suffering from mental illness, vis-à-vis their healthy counterparts.
Noting that team feels that ABCA13 largely influences the manner of use of fat molecules in the brain, Dr Ben Pickard, of the University of Strathclyde, said: "'This study is the first to identify multiple points of DNA damage within a single gene that are linked with psychiatric illness. It strongly suggests that this gene may regulate an important part of brain function that fails in individuals diagnosed with these devastating disorders.'"
With the results of the research suggesting that the proper functioning of the ABCA13 gene helps in maintaining brain health, the researchers opine that the identification of the gene is a notable step in the direction of developing new methods for tackling psychiatric conditions.