Obsessive Compulsive Gene

The Story: A gene has been found that may cause obsessive compulsive disorder. The story of this remarkable discovery is well told (below) in an article we have adapted from a news release from the NIH (National Institutes of Health) so we see no reason to recap the research.

Comments: One of the extraordinary aspects of the research on the gene for obsessive compulsive disorder is the discovery of two mutations in the same gene in some of the patients. In medical genetics, we are well acquainted with recessive diseases in which a person has two copies of a gene for the disease, one copy inherited from each parent. This phenomenon is called homozygosity. The presence of two different mutations within one gene essentially provides a new mechanism for this phenomenon -- called in within-gene homozygosity.

We remember the day, not too many years ago, when a friend of ours reported finding a gene for depressive disease in an eminent medical journal. He was roundly and severely criticized for his hubris in thinking that a form of major mental illness could possibly be due to the effects of a gene. That day has fortunately passed and now we can all benefit from a more open acceptance of both genetic and environmental factors in mental illness.

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