Flashmag Digizine Edition Issue 110 October 2020 - Page 104

Flashmag October 2020 www.flashmag.net


They confirmed a well-studied positive relationship between genetic risks of suicidal behavior and insomnia. Second, the authors identified an inverse relationship between the genetic risks of suicide attempt and the mother’s age at first birth. A similar negative correlation between age at first birth and the incidence of schizophrenia has been reported previously. Overall, these findings suggest that the genetic factors that underlie suicide attempt are not distinct from those that underlie schizophrenia.

So, according to these studies, where does the suicide gene exist on your genome? The most important single nucleotide polymorphism, or SNP, was identified on chromosome 20 in a region of the DNA that does not actually code for any known gene. The gene that lives closest to this region of DNA is 47,000 base-pairs away and is called PREX1. Scientists have speculated that genetic alterations of PREX1 may play a role in the development of depression and autism-like behaviors.

Overall, the results of these very large studies provide support for a genetic transmission of suicide attempt. Future studies may ultimately find a way to predict the risk of attempting suicide in individuals who show no evidence of a mental disorder.

Part of this article has been published on Psychology today under Gary L. Wenk Ph.D. - Your Brain on Food