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Am J Hum Genet. 1994 May;54(5):864-70.

Evidence for anticipation in schizophrenia.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Canada.


Anticipation, or increasing severity of a disorder across successive generations, is a genetic phenomenon with an identified molecular mechanism: expansion of unstable trinucleotide repeat sequences. This study examined anticipation in familial schizophrenia. Three generations of siblines from the affected side of families selected for unilineal, autosomal dominant-like inheritance of schizophrenia were studied (n = 186). Across generations more subjects were hospitalized with psychotic illness (P < .001), at progressively earlier ages (P < .0001), and with increasing severity of illness (P < .0003). The results indicate that anticipation is present in familial schizophrenia. These findings support both an active search for unstable trinucleotide repeat sequences in schizophrenia and reconsideration of the genetic model used for linkage studies in this disorder.

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