Researchers localise gene triggering manic episodes in bipolar disorder

Monday, September 03, 2012

Washington: Flying high, or down in the dumps may leads to individuals suffering from bipolar disorder alternate between depressive and manic episodes, a new research revealed.

Researchers from the University of Bonn and the Central Institute of Mental Health in Mannheim have succeeded in localising a gene which contributes towards the manic depressive disease.

The results have been published in the current issue of The American Journal of Psychiatry.

The research was based on patient data and animal models, how the NCAN gene results in the manic symptoms of bipolar disorder.

About one per cent of all humans suffer, in the course of their lives, from this bipolar emotional disorder and this occurs in all the cultures which have hitherto been investigated.

The causes are as yet unknown; therapy is therefore correspondingly difficult. Many of those affected commit suicide during the course of the disease.

After decoding the human genome the geneticists are now in a situation comparable to that of a linguist who is supposed to translate an extensive text from a completely unknown language into English. They need to find out what the individual words mean in the 23-volume genome dictionary, although they do not even know where a word begins or ends. To make matters more difficult, interspersed between important information, all of a sudden there may be meaningless babble.

When human beings are born, each of them is supplied with two of these genome dictionaries one from their mother, the other from their father, which they carry around with them in their body cells. Thus the cells contain two items of genetic information for all the hereditary features. When producing egg or sperm cells, the body jettisons the duplicate information and compiles at random a new encyclopedia from the maternal and paternal genome lexicon, in which half the entries are from the father and the other half from the mother. Adjacent entries often come from the same parent a rule which genome researchers exploit when searching for genes.
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