DNA sequencing potential connection to OCD risk


A new study led by scientists at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai found both common and rare variance in DNA sequencing along an individuals’ chromosomes can account for about one third of risk of developing obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), potentially altering future treatments for the disease.

The results were published in the American Journal of Psychiatry. The study analyzed 2,090 Swedish-born people diagnosed with OCD with 4,567 controls. It was led by Behrang Mahjani, PhD, a researcher at the laboratory of Dorothy Grice, MD, Professor of Psychiatry at Icahn Mount Sinai.

Initial results from the study, that compared single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), normal differences in people’s DNA sequences, supported previous findings, according to the researchers. Study results showed that around 29 percent of OCD risk is connected to variations of SNP between subjects with OCD and those without the disease. Ninety percent of those differences are found in the general population.

Researchers also uncovered new information. Results showed 10 percent of rare genomic differences could be linked to OCD risk. Further research suggested that several OCD related SNPs combine to influence risk as researchers noted that these genomic differences were distributed across patient’ chromosomes.

Scientists concluded that these results are evidence that OCD risk could potentially be caused, in part, by SNPs across the human genome, not just select “hot spot” locations. Researchers said the study highlights the role of rare genomic differences in OCD risk and may change the way scientists view the disease and its treatment.