Schizophrenia risk genes
Zhang, Zhengdong D. Department of Genetics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York.
Last reviewed:April 2020
- Schizophrenia risk genes in neurotransmitter systems
- Schizophrenia risk genes identified by genetic studies
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Sequences of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) that increase the probability of the development of schizophrenia in an individual. Schizophrenia risk genes increase the likelihood of developing schizophrenia, a debilitating brain disorder characterized by constellations of symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, and cognitive impairments. Most cases of schizophrenia start during adolescence or early adulthood and often have a lifelong course. With substantial morbidity and mortality and a worldwide prevalence of approximately 1%, schizophrenia creates an enormous burden to patients, their families, and the community. Converging evidence indicates that schizophrenia results from a disruption in brain development caused by genetic predisposition and environmental factors (for example, prenatal infection, maternal nutrition, and stress). It is a highly heritable disease, with an estimated heritability between 64% and 81%, confirming the major role of genetic factors in contributing to disease risk. Accumulating evidence indicates that schizophrenia is associated with many genes and involves complex interactions among risk variants (see illustration) across a wide range of the frequency spectrum of alleles (alternative gene forms). Overall, the identification of schizophrenia risk genes is crucial for providing insight into the underlying disease mechanisms and for determining new drug targets. See also: Brain; Cognition; Gene; Genetics; Genomics; Hallucination; Mental disorders; Psychotherapy; Schizophrenia
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