Next-generation sequencing approach to identify bipolar disorder genes

Principal Investigator: Guy A. Rouleau
Theme : Health
Competition : Genomics research in human health - general stream
Status : In progress
Start : Oct. 1, 2010
Budget : $3,515,398.00

Bipolar disorder (BD), also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder affecting mood and behavior. It is commonly treated with Lithium, but Lithium does not work in all patients. Many studies have found that BD runs in families, which suggests that BD is genetic. Yet scientists have so far been unsuccessful at finding such BD genes. Dr. Rouleau and his team believe this is due to two main problems: 1) that BD actually represent a number of different mood disorders that closely resemble one another and are difficult to differentiate, and 2) that rare mutations in many different genes will be responsible.

Dr. Rouleau and his team will focus on these two problems by identifying new genes, or more specifically, mutations in new genes that can lead to an increased risk of developing BD. By using a new high throughput approach called next-generation sequencing (NGS) they will be able to sequence the entire complement of genes in a person in a matter of days, and identify all the small alterations that occur in the genome. By comparing these alterations between different BD patients, and normal individuals, they can identify the rare alterations that might cause the disease.



Martin Alda Dalhousie University
Béatrice Godard Université de Montréal
Gustavo Turecki McGill University