Home » Blog » Disorders » Bipolar Disorder » Bipolar gene discovered

Bipolar gene discovered

A team of researchers from Sydney, Australia announced some exciting findings in this January’s edition of Molecular Psychiatry – a genetic link to bipolar disorder, the FAT gene.

As an organic brain disorder, bipolar has long been suspected of a genetic link. A family history of bipolar disorder is one of the first things a doctor asks about to help diagnose it. With advances in the genome project and in neuroimaging, several genes have been indicated as likely contributing but research was somewhat inconclusive. The Australian team carefully evaluated its findings through three levels of analysis to make a confident statement that the FAT gene was involved 10% of the time.

10% is nowhere near 100%, but a simple one-gene culprit is unlikely to be found. Instead researchers look towards haplotypes – combinations of genotypes – and gene expression variables.

Genetic research helps scientists develop drugs that work in new ways, and points to the potential to develop early diagnostic tests.

News of the FAT gene find quickly spread through the media. Here’s one good overview of the story in New Scientist.

Bipolar gene discovered

Sandra Kiume

Sandra Kiume is a mental health advocate. Along with contributing to World of Psychology, she blogs at Channel N about brain and behaviour videos, and is the founder of @unsuicide and Online Suicide Help. She lives in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

2 comments: View Comments / Leave a Comment
APA Reference
Kiume, S. (2006). Bipolar gene discovered. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 17, 2018, from


Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 19 Jan 2006
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 19 Jan 2006
Published on All rights reserved.