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Published On December 7, 2015


A Decade of Psychogenetics

The first issue of Proto looked at the genetic roots of mental illness. What’s happened since then?

Proto magazine launched in 2005, just a few years after the Human Genome Project was declared complete. Radical advances in genetic sequencing technology have since brought stunning breakthroughs to nearly every field of medicine, and the field of psychiatry is no different.

In this video, Jordan Smoller, director of the Psychiatric and Neurodevelopmental Genetics Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital, discusses how researchers have begun to identify which genes may play a role in a variety of psychiatric diseases including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression.

“The fact is that all psychiatric mediations that are approved for treating these disorders are based on biological insights that are half a century old,” he says. With new genetic studies, researchers might be able to identify "unforeseen biological components… that could then be the targets of more effective and specific treatments.”