Research scientists found changes in the structure of the genes in patients with schizophrenia when they studied what are known as copy number variants.
Genetic diseases are caused by a large number of different possible changes in human DNA. The type of mutation or change referred to as CNV means that large pieces of DNA may exist in several copies, have disappeared or have been transposed. In some diseases such changes in the genome may be protective, for example in HIV infection and malaria.
“The results strongly support the notion that schizophrenia may be partly caused by the effects of such structural changes in genes, both across the whole genome and in specific chromosomes,” says Christina Hultman, associate professor at Karolinska Institutet.
A breakthrough in genetic research on diabetes and prostate cancer, among other diseases, has been achieved in 2007 and 2008 by mapping the whole genome in what are known as genomwide association studies. There is now much to suggest that a breakthrough may also be made in schizophrenia in 2008, when up to seven studies relating to a total of 20,000 cases have been carried out. An important step will then be to understand the biological mechanisms underlying a complex pattern of genes that can be linked to schizophrenia and also what is known as epigenetics, that is to say how genes are switched on and off during the lifespan.
“We anticipate a breakthrough in the near future in research into psychiatric diseases such as schizophrenia, bipolar disease and autism. At the same I wish to stress that in such a complex disease as schizophrenia there is a need for research on both genetic and environmental causes and on treatment and management,” says Christina Hultman.
Schizophrenia is a common psychiatric disease. There are around 35,000 people in Sweden today who have at some time been in institutional care with the diagnosis of schizophrenia, and just as many who have been treated for other psychotic diseases.
It has long been known through family studies, adoption studies and twin studies that there appear to be hereditary causes of schizophrenia. The risk among both first-degree relatives (a person’s children) and second-degree relatives of people with schizophrenia is raised. The search for specific genetic causes in the last ten years has been intensive, but schizophrenia has a complex pattern of heredity, and the results of previous studies have been unclear. Various research teams have presented several different suggestions for genes that may be involved, including genes that control the development of brain cells.
Publication: “Rare chromosomal deletions and duplications increase risk of schizophrenia”, International Schizophrenia Consortium, which includes Christina Hultman from the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics of Karolinska Institutet. Nature on line, www.nature.com, Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1038/nature07239.
First use of vasoprotective antibody in cardiogenic shock
17.05.2019 | Deutsches Zentrum für Herz-Kreislauf-Forschung e.V.
A nerve cell serves as a “single” for studies
15.05.2019 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
Engineers at the University of Tokyo continually pioneer new ways to improve battery technology. Professor Atsuo Yamada and his team recently developed a...
With a quantum coprocessor in the cloud, physicists from Innsbruck, Austria, open the door to the simulation of previously unsolvable problems in chemistry, materials research or high-energy physics. The research groups led by Rainer Blatt and Peter Zoller report in the journal Nature how they simulated particle physics phenomena on 20 quantum bits and how the quantum simulator self-verified the result for the first time.
Many scientists are currently working on investigating how quantum advantage can be exploited on hardware already available today. Three years ago, physicists...
'Quantum technologies' utilise the unique phenomena of quantum superposition and entanglement to encode and process information, with potentially profound benefits to a wide range of information technologies from communications to sensing and computing.
However a major challenge in developing these technologies is that the quantum phenomena are very fragile, and only a handful of physical systems have been...
Working group led by physicist Professor Ulrich Nowak at the University of Konstanz, in collaboration with a team of physicists from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, demonstrates how skyrmions can be used for the computer concepts of the future
When it comes to performing a calculation destined to arrive at an exact result, humans are hopelessly inferior to the computer. In other areas, humans are...
Scientists develop a molecular recording tool that enables in vivo lineage tracing of embryonic cells
The beginning of new life starts with a fascinating process: A single cell gives rise to progenitor cells that eventually differentiate into the three germ...
29.04.2019 | Event News
17.04.2019 | Event News
15.04.2019 | Event News
17.05.2019 | Materials Sciences
17.05.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
17.05.2019 | Materials Sciences