Molecular genetics and heterogeneity in manic depression

H. M.D. Gurling, R. P. Sherrington, J. Brynjolfsson, M. Potter, M. McInnis, H. Petursson, S. Hodgkinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Recent research has shown that there are X-linked and possibly chromosome 11-linked forms of manic depression as well as at least one other autosomal form. Segregation analyses of large affected families and the finding of genetic linkage between chromosome specific markers and manic depression mutations provide strong evidence that bipolar as well as unipolar forms of manic depression (MD) within the same family are inherited as a dominant gene disorder. This clarification of the etiology of certain types of depression should bring changed attitudes within psychiatry and may serve to stimulate discusssion of the role of evolutionary mechanisms. From a clinical point of view, it has now become possible to determine whether clinical (phenotypic) variation reflects the underlying genotypic heterogeneity of linkage. A preliminary analysis of data from four recent studies shows that there is no clear correlation between such clinical features as the ratio of unipolar to bipolar cases and the genotypic form of manic depression. Further recombinant DNA research, proven to be successful in other genetic diseases, can soon be applied to manic depression. The specific problems posed by manic depression for these techniques are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-132
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular Neurobiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1988
Externally publishedYes


  • Manic depression
  • X-linkage
  • chromosome 11-linkage
  • heterogeneity, genotypic
  • variation, phenotypic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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