UCLA scientists have utilized a novel technology for analyzing DNA called 3D chromosome-mapping to uncover dozens of genes and two major biological pathways that are likely involved in the development of schizophrenia, a highly heritable mental illness. Past studies have mostly identified non-gene locations of DNA variations rather than identifying gene targets directly on the genome. Dr. Daniel Geschwind, principal investigator and professor of neurology and psychiatry at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine, articulates that this study is especially salient because it identifies specific genes and pathways on the genome associated with schizophrenia. The findings show that genes involved in neonatal brain cell growth and acetylcholine signaling may have variations that lead to the development of schizophrenia. Although scientists have speculated whether these kinds of brain dysfunctions contribute to the development of schizophrenia, this research provides strong evidence for these connections.
Source: Scientists find new genetic roots of schizophrenia UCLA Newsroom, 19 Oct 2016
Additional coverage on this study:
Scientists confirm genetics of schizophrenia CNN, 19 Oct 2016