Over 6,000 twin pairs from two age cohorts have been asked about their psychiatric symptoms. Multivariate genetic analysis suggests that while there is some common genetic predisposition with anxiety and depression, somatisation appears to be partly genetically distinct. The focus of the work now moves to finding variables which modify this genetic risk, including life events, and measures of support from parents, spouses and friends. We are also carrying out a genome scan for genes influencing anxiety and depression in a collaboration with Gemini Genomics Ltd (UK).
(A.J. Birley, N Gillespie, K Kirk, NG Martin in collaboration with Prof. I. Hickie, University of NSW)