Schizophrenia Patients Possess More Rare Genetic Mutations

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Marji_100715_3A new study published in the journal Nature Communications shows that schizophrenia patients have more rare genetic mutations compared to people unaffected by the condition.

The study, led by researchers at the University of California, screened hundreds of thousands of genetic variants in people with schizophrenia. The team used a DNA screening tool to search for 250,000 coding variants in 1,042 schizophrenia patients who reside in the Netherlands as well as 961 unaffected people.

DNA results revealed that patients with schizophrenia had more of the variants than those who did not have schizophrenia. They also discovered that uncommon genetic mutations that code for proteins occur more often in people with schizophrenia. Study authors note that mutations in genes that code for proteins aid in the development of the brain before birth.

The team could not pinpoint specific mutations that play an important role in schizophrenia patients; however, they understand that schizophrenics have more of these mutations compared to those who are unaffected.

Researchers note that these findings were consistent with another study they conducted on a group that included more than 13,000 people with and without schizophrenia.

The team concludes that the genes that carry rare coding variants will overlap with genes expressed in the fetal brain. When it comes to the causes of schizophrenia, this could highlight the potential role of neurodevelopment.

Source for Today’s Article: 
Paddock, C., “People with schizophrenia have more rare genetic mutations,” Medical News Today web site, July 10, 2015;