affecting those depression genes away?

Demonstrated by a variety of examples from class today, an interaction of gene expression and environment seem to be a sort of middle ground to the Nature vs Nurture debate. I was specifically intrigued by the discussion on depression and how markers on seratogenic genes HTR2A and TPH were predictors of the group of depressed individuals, independent of environment.

Upon a further look, I found an article from the New York Times explaining the antidepressant properties of a molecule called SAMe. This moniker stands for S-adenosyl methionine, a molecule that occurs naturally within the body and has been used to treat depression, among other illnesses, in Europe. Furthermore, it has been known to treat depression when other typical antidepressants have not had an effect. The article states that while the ways in which SAMe alleviates depression are unknown at the moment, it is proposed that SAMe may work to influence gene expression specific to depression.

This is an interesting development in the Nature vs Nurture debate with regards to depression, especially due to Sapolsky’s chapter explaining the ways in which gene expression and environmental triggers seem to work together to marry the two sides of the spectrum. Furthermore, since SAMe is inherent to the human body, and since it may seemingly affect gene expression, this article gives rise to further evidence of our bodies regulating our responses to the environment – go environmentalists!

Here is the link to the article:

2 thoughts on “affecting those depression genes away?

  1. I wonder whether it would be a good idea in general to look for treatments of mental illness (and other issues) within the body itself. The semen article made the same thought pop into my mind. Who knows how many cases of natural anti-depressants we could discover


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