A genetic variant increases the risk of developing schizophrenia in women

Feb 15, 2008

A complete scan of the human genome has revealed that a genetic variant in the Reelin gene increases the risk of developing schizophrenia in women only. Researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the University of Oxford, who conducted the study in the Ashkenazi Jewish population, confirmed their findings by establishing a multinational collaboration that included populations and researchers from the United Kingdom, Ireland, United States, and China. Their research is published in the February issue of the open-access journal PLoS Genetics.

Heritability of schizophrenia has been well established through epidemiological studies in past years. However, efforts to identify the genes associated with this devastating disease, which affects about 1% of the human population, have encountered significant difficulties. Technological advances that allow the complete and efficient scanning of the entire genome present a new opportunity to address this challenge.

The authors analyzed 500,000 genetic variants distributed across the whole human genome in DNA from patients with schizophrenia and control subjects. By comparing the genomes of hundreds of patients with schizophrenia with those of healthy controls across several human populations, the researchers identified a gene that significantly increases the risk of developing the disease, but interestingly in women only.

This study represents significant progress in the study of schizophrenia with possible practical implications in the areas of disease diagnosis and drug discovery. Nevertheless, it is important to stress that these possibilities will require many years of additional research, and even then, success cannot be guaranteed.

Citation: Shifman S, Johannesson M, Bronstein M, Chen SX, Collier DA, et al. (2008) Genome-wide association identifies a common variant in the reelin gene that increases the risk of schizophrenia only in women. PLoS Genet 4(2): e28. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.0040028

Source: Public Library of Science

Explore further: DNA study could shed light on how genetic faults trigger disease

Related Stories

European physicist discusses Higgs boson at Brown University

5 hours ago

The head of the European Organization for Nuclear Research says the historic 2012 discovery of the Higgs boson particle and the particle accelerator that detected it are getting scientists closer to understanding the creation ...

IBM earnings dip as sales fall again

6 hours ago

Technology heavyweight IBM reported Monday lower profits in the first quarter following another drop in revenues, this time partly due to the strong dollar.

Recommended for you

Systematic interaction network filtering in biobanks

Apr 24, 2015

While seeking targets to attack Huntington's disease, an incurable inherited neurodegenerative disorder, neurobiologists of the research group led by Professor Erich Wanker of the Max Delbrück Center for ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.