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Post: 95 locations in the genome associated with risk of developing PTSD

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In posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), intrusive thoughts, changes in mood, and other symptoms after exposure to trauma can greatly impact a person’s quality of life. About 6 percent of people who experience trauma develop the disorder, but scientists don’t yet understand the neurobiology underlying PTSD.

Now, a new genetic study of more than 1.2 million people has pinpointed 95 loci, or locations in the genome, that are associated with risk of developing PTSD, including 80 that had not been previously identified. The study, from the PTSD working group within the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC – PTSD) together with Cohen Veterans Bioscience, is the largest and most diverse of its kind, and also identified 43 genes that appear to have a role in causing PTSD. The work appears in Nature Genetics . This discovery firmly validates that heritability is a central feature of PTSD based on the largest PTSD genetics study conducted to date and reinforces there is a genetic component that contributes to the complexity of PTSD.” Caroline Nievergelt, co-first and corresponding author on the study and professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego Adam Maihofer, a genetic epidemiologist in Nievergelt’s lab, was a co-first author as well.

The findings both confirm previously discovered genetic underpinnings of PTSD and provide many novel targets for future investigation that could lead to new prevention and treatment strategies.

“It’s exciting that we see the exponential increase in loci with increases in sample size we see for other disorders,” said […]

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