2000). However, it has been challenging to replicate previously identified
candidate gene underlying susceptibility to depression (Lopez-Leon et al. 2008) or explain substantial variance in the phenotype. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have been unsuccessful in identifying significant individual genetic variants either (Sullivan et al. 2009; Lewis et al. 2010; Muglia et al. 2010; Shi et al. 2011; Shyn et al. 2011; Wray et al. 2012; Hek et al. 2013; Ripke et al. 2013). These negative findings have led to speculation that depression is particularly heterogeneous both clinically and etiologically, Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical which could dramatically reduce statistical power to identify causal loci (Craddock et al. 2008). In addition, it is often hypothesized that for complex disorders including major depressive disorders, each individual risk allele only has low contribution, with odds ratio typically in the region of 1.05–1.2 (Mitchell 2012). Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical Statistical power may be improved by increasing sample size, which is not always feasible; by improving precision of phenotype measurement; Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical or by combining information from multiple loci such as creating polygenic scores (PS) or taking into account interactions between genes or loci, which may effectively increase the magnitude of the genetic effects. Measurement has proven particularly
challenging for depression-related phenotypes. Psychiatric research emphasizes distinctions between categorical diagnoses (binary phenotypes) and dimensional symptom measures (continuous phenotypes) (Maes et al. 1992; Prisciandaro and Roberts 2009). Because categorical diagnoses better distinguish individuals with true Selleckchem I BET 762 psychopathology, genetic determinants might be easier to identify when contrasting Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical diagnosed cases to healthy controls. However, if the heritability reflects the independent influence of many genes with small effects, the phenotype is likely to be continuously distributed and more closely related to symptom-based measures. If so, using a binary outcome measure dichotomizing a continuous
phenotype reduces statistical power compared to using a dimensional quantitative measure with the same sample size (Helzer et al. 2006; Kraemer 2007), In general, diagnostic and symptom-based measures are highly but not perfectly correlated (Radloff 1977). tuclazepam A second challenge in measuring depression phenotypes is appropriately defining the time period of assessment. Genetic risks are carried throughout life, but the phenotype manifest at any given moment reflects both stable genetic contributions and fluctuating, transient contextual influences. These temporary variations reduce statistical power to detect genotype–phenotype associations (assuming transient contextual influences are independent of genetics). Depression phenotypes in genetic association studies are often assessed at a single time point when symptom measures are used.