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Eur J Hum Genet. 2006 Jun;14(6):669-80.

Molecular genetic studies of schizophrenia.

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Department of Psychiatry, Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA.


The study of schizophrenia genetics has confirmed the importance of genes in etiology, but has not so far identified the relationship between observed genetic risks and specific DNA variants, protein alterations or biological processes. In spite of many limitations, numerous regions of the human genome give consistent, although by no means unanimous, support for linkage, which is unlikely to occur by chance. Two recent shifts have been evident in the field. First, a series of studies combining linkage and association analyses in the same family sets have identified promising candidate genes (DTNBP1, NRG1, G72/G30, TRAR4). Although a consensus definition of replication for genetic association in a complex trait remains difficult to achieve, the evidence for two of these (dystrobrevin binding protein 1 (DTNBP1), NRG1) is strong. Second, a series of studies combining association with functional investigation of changes in the associated gene in schizophrenia have also identified several candidate genes (COMT, RGS4, PPP3CC, ZDHHC8, AKT1). Somewhat surprisingly, the loci implicated by these studies have proven less robust in replication, although the number of replication studies remains small in several cases. Assessment of the combined evidence for the DTNBP1 gene gives some insight into the nature of the problems remaining to be solved.

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