Study offers insight into genetics of schizophrenia

“More than 100 schizophrenia genes have been pinpointed,” reports the Daily Mail. In one of the largest studies of its kind, researchers have gained further insights into the genetics of the condition, which it is hoped could lead to new treatments.

Researchers have identified genetic differences at 108 positions in the genome (the complete set of DNA that “defines” an individual organism) that are more likely to be present in people with schizophrenia.

The study compared the genetic make-up of more than 36,000 people with schizophrenia with that of more than 110,000 controls. They found differences in 108 positions in the genome, 83 of which had not previously been reported.

A particularly interesting finding was evidence of genetic differences in genes active in the immune system. Whether or not the immune system plays a role in the development of schizophrenia is a possibility not previously considered by most experts.

This study provides further evidence of a genetic element to the condition, but it does not prove that the genetic differences actually cause schizophrenia.

However, it is hoped these results will lead to new avenues of research that can be explored, and may eventually lead to better treatments for the condition.

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