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Am J Med Genet. 2000 Spring;97(1):45-51.

Chromosomal abnormalities and schizophrenia.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Canada.


Schizophrenia is a common and serious psychiatric illness with strong evidence for genetic causation, but no specific loci yet identified. Chromosomal abnormalities associated with schizophrenia may help to understand the genetic complexity of the illness. This paper reviews the evidence for associations between chromosomal abnormalities and schizophrenia and related disorders. The results indicate that 22q11.2 microdeletions detected by fluorescence in-situ hybridization (FISH) are significantly associated with schizophrenia. Sex chromosome abnormalities seem to be increased in schizophrenia but insufficient data are available to indicate whether schizophrenia or related disorders are increased in patients with sex chromosome aneuploidies. Other reports of chromosomal abnormalities associated with schizophrenia have the potential to be important adjuncts to linkage studies in gene localization. Advances in molecular cytogenetic techniques (i.e., FISH) have produced significant increases in rates of identified abnormalities in schizophrenia, particularly in patients with very early age at onset, learning difficulties or mental retardation, or dysmorphic features. The results emphasize the importance of considering behavioral phenotypes, including adult onset psychiatric illnesses, in genetic syndromes and the need for clinicians to actively consider identifying chromosomal abnormalities and genetic syndromes in selected psychiatric patients.

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