View Full Version : "The Suicide Gene"

Scarlet Ibis
03-22-2015, 08:47 AM
Sensationalist title, but it's a media moniker from last year. I don't think there's been a thread about it.


Identification and Replication of a Combined Epigenetic and Genetic Biomarker Predicting Suicide and Suicidal Behaviors

Reliable identification of individuals at high risk for suicide is a priority for suicide prevention. This study was conducted to identify genes exhibiting epigenetic variation associated with suicide and suicidal behaviors.

Genome-wide DNA methylation profiling was employed separately on neuronal and glial nuclei in a discovery set of postmortem brains from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to identify associations with suicide. Pyrosequencing-based validation was conducted in prefrontal cortical tissue in cohorts from the Stanley Medical Research Institute and Harvard Brain Bank at McLean Hospital and peripheral blood from three living groups. Functional associations with gene expression, stress and anxiety, and salivary cortisol were assessed.

The DNA methylation scan identified an additive epigenetic and genetic association with suicide at rs7208505 within the 3′ untranslated region of the SKA2 gene independently in the three brain cohorts. This finding was replicated with suicidal ideation in blood from three live cohorts. SKA2 gene expression was significantly lower in suicide decedents and was associated with genetic and epigenetic variation of rs7208505, possibly mediated by interaction with an intronic microRNA, miR-301a. Analysis of salivary cortisol measurements suggested that SKA2 epigenetic and genetic variation may modulate cortisol suppression, consistent with its implicated role in glucocorticoid receptor transactivation. SKA2 significantly interacted with anxiety and stress to explain about 80% of suicidal behavior and progression from suicidal ideation to suicide attempt.

These findings implicate SKA2 as a novel genetic and epigenetic target involved in the etiology of suicide and suicidal behaviors.

03-22-2015, 10:14 AM
Interesting to see this thread. Have just been reading about the Hemingway family "curse" -- mental illness and suicide.

rock hunter
03-24-2015, 07:52 AM
I think it might open the door to Suicidal Behavior
that in the past was pushed close with family support.
The Hemingway family had a lot of bad things going on.
But these things are changing for everyone, family is not
what it used to be and these old safety nets are vanishing
children today are under a lot more pressure from all sides

03-24-2015, 11:54 AM
I'm not the big expert on this, but I have had some special training and for years was the guy that administered crisis suicide evaluation interviews to determine if an inmate needed to be put on some sort of suicide watch. So, to cut to the chase and from a guy that has worked in a prison for 25 years, we sure see some inmates that seem to have a history of suicide running through the family.
I have seen many an inmate at the 'bottom' with their life a total mess, but never considered self harm. Then we have seen others who have a history of 3-4 or more close family members who have killed them-self, and then get news of one or two more killing themselves while the inmate in question was incarcerated.
It does seem to run in certain families and I have no doubt there is a genetic component with both it and mental health. Of course, dna is just one factor in a complicated 'bundle' of issues that leads to genuine self harm.
For my last point, I would note that it seems that our Aboriginal (Indian) population has a much higher incidence of suicide than the general population in Canada and I do believe the stats support that, although I dont have them at hand.
There is a scary copy cat effect that sometimes occurs, not just for Aboriginals, but we will get word that a series of suicides will occur amongst the youth of a reservation (often a very isolated one) and we will have to keep a close eye on any young inmates we might have from that rez.


rock hunter
03-24-2015, 04:14 PM
Some people are more armored then others , for lack of a better word.
No matter how many times they fall they keep getting up ,chumbawamba !
If you can have a suicide gene, might it be logical
to assume there is an unfound anti-suicide gene ?