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Genomics. 2007 Feb;89(2):167-77. Epub 2006 Nov 29.

Genome-wide linkage scan of schizophrenia: a cross-isolate study.

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  • 1N.I. Vavilov Institute of General Genetics, Russian Academy of Sciences, Gubkin Street 3, Moscow 117809, Russia.


Genetic isolates are exceptional resources for the detection of susceptibility genes for complex diseases because of the potential reduction in genetic and clinical heterogeneity. However, the outcome of these mapping efforts is dependent upon the demographic history of a given isolated population, with the most significant factors being a constant population size, the number of generations since founding, and the pathogenic loci and their allele frequencies among founders. Here we employed a cross-isolate genome-wide multipoint linkage study design using uniform genetic and clinical methods in four Daghestan ethnically and demographically diverse isolates with an aggregation of schizophrenia. Our previous population-genetics study showed that Daghestan has an extremely high genetic diversity between ethnic populations and a low genetic diversity within them. The isolates selected for this study include some with more than 200 and some with fewer than 100 generations of demographical history since their founding. Updated clinical data using DSM-IV criteria showed between-isolate differences in aggregation of distinct types of schizophrenia: one of the isolates had a predominant aggregation of disorganized schizophrenia, while the other three had predominantly paranoid schizophrenia. The summarized cross-isolate results indicated prominent within and between-isolate differences in clinical and genetic heterogeneity: the most ancient isolates have roughly twofold fewer incidences of distinct clinical phenotypes and fewer linked genomic regions compared to the demographically younger isolates, which exhibit higher clinical and genetic heterogeneity. Affected individuals in the demographically ancient isolate of ethnic Dargins (No. 6022) who suffered from disorganized schizophrenia showed the highest linkage evidence at 17p11-p12 (LOD=3.73), while isolates with a predominant aggregation of paranoid schizophrenia (Nos. 6005, 6011, and 6034) showed the highest linkage evidence at 22q11 (LOD=3.0 and 4.4). The unified clinical, genomic, and statistical design we used enabled us to separate the linked and unlinked pedigrees in an unbiased fashion for each genomic location. Overall maximized heterogeneity lod scores for the combined pedigrees ranging from 3.5 to 8.7 were found at 2p24, 10q26, 11q23, 12q24, 17p11-p12, 22q11, and 22q13. The cross-isolate homogeneity in linkage patterns may be ascribed to an identical-by-descent "metahaplotype" block with pathogenic loci derived from the Daghestan ethnic groups' common ancestral metapopulation, while the cross-isolate differences may reflect differences in gene drift and recombination events in the history of local isolates. The results obtained support the notion that mapping genes of any complex disease (e.g., schizophrenia) in demographically older genetic isolates may be more time and cost effective in comparison with demographically younger isolates, especially in genetically heterogeneous outbred populations, due to higher clinical and genetic homogeneity of the primary isolates. A study at higher genotyping density across the regions of interest and fluorescence in situ hybridization analyses are currently underway.

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