New insights into genetics of schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is partially inherited disorder – scientifically, has a strong genetic component. Scientists are working on its genetics with hope to develop new therapeutic approaches, targeting or even correcting genes responsible for the disease.

Previous approaches pointed to over 200 genetic variants (covered a year ago) on a more correlation basis. The newest project, called SCHEMA – short for SCHizophrenia Exome Meta-Analysis – focused on causal relations between schizophrenia and genes. After gathering genetic data from 24 thousand individuals with schizophrenia, scientists found 10 genes critical for development of the disorder.

Ten genes include: TRIO, SP4, CUL4, XPO7, RB1CC1, HERC1, GRIN2A, SETD1A, CACGNA1, GRIA3.

The study focused on rare variants, connecting them together to reveal biological mechanisms behind schizophrenia. They were found to play important roles in transmission between neurons and molecular details of synapses, such as postsynaptic density.

The results were presented at the annual meeting of American Society of Human Genetics. SCHEMA prepared interactive website with collected data: schema.broadinstitute.org/results

Photo: Yinghua Ma and Timothy Vartanian, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.

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