Earlier this year Pfizer partnered with 23andMe to conduct a depression focussed research project by studying more than 450,000 DNA samples collected on 23andMe’s genetics database. The main focus of this research project was to find different genetic clues to help determine the cause of depression.
“Everyone is recognizing that this is a numbers problem,” says Ashley Winslow, formerly a neuroscientist at Pfizer and now the director of neurogenetics at the Orphan Disease Center at the University of Pennsylvania. Winslow led the research effort. “It’s hard if not impossible to get to the numbers that we saw in the 23andMe study.”
“The big story is that 23andMe got us over the inflection point for depression,” says Douglas Levinson, a psychiatrist and gene researcher at Stanford University involved with the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, another gene-hunting group. “That is exciting. It makes us optimistic that we are finally there.”
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