We ~~effectively did a BLAST search~~ used a genome-wide association study and found a lot of potential correlations between depressive diagnoses and a ton of genetic markers. We haven't experimentally tested *any* of them, and so while it's likely there's *something*, *somewhere* in our data, any conclusions should be taken with a metric ton of salt.
Big data and genomics are absolutely going to revolutionize biology and medicine, but damn if these don't start to get old pretty quick.
statistical genecists here, and this is exactly what I do.
**tl;Dr: likely just smoke bombs. requires replication to confirm any of the genes. papers like that publish in the hundreds each year and most of them do not reveal anything about the underlying genetics of a disease.**
At the glance the study is pretty rigid. they included many guards towards population stratification and the usual suspects, and I wouldn't be surprised if some genes they discovered turns out to be real genes for depression. That being said, there are multiple alarms here that you should not be overly excited that we have discovered the source of depression.
1) I'm not personally sure how much of depression is inheritable. I know it tends to run in families thought.
2) GWAS (genomewide association study) has been a thing for 15 years or so. Throughout its course it's only been moderately successful at identifying genetic causes for common diseases (performed way under expectation). I have no real reason to expect anything different for depression. Also know that genetics has basically moved away from GWAS (whether we should or not is a different debate). A lot of paper with high significance result were not replicated in GWAS.
3) the data. Again, I am not British so I'm not sure, but "white British" is really vague and likely not "pure" in terms of ethnicity consider how many different ethnicities are present in the British Isles.
4) the phenotyping is very sloppy. One group included "self reported depression patient", and another "people who are taking depression medicine". this would have a major impact on the result.
5) apart from the sloppy phenotyping, they considered all the different subtypes of depression together.
Statistical speaking, there is nothing new or even remotely interesting in what they did. the algorithm they used has been invented 10 years ago and a year 3 statistics student would be able to carry out this analysis.