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  • 8/9/2011

Genetic mutations cause schizophrenia


Researchers have found that new protein-altering gene mutations are associated with more than 50 percent of non-hereditary or sporadic schizophrenia cases.

A new genetic study revealed that these gene mutations, called "de novo" mutations, are new genetic errors that occur in schizophrenia patients but not in either of their parents.

Researchers at Columbia University studied the genomes of genetically isolated Afrikaner families of European descent in South Africa. The analysis included 225 people included schizophrenia patients, their families and healthy individuals who were considered as control groups.

During the study, the scientists 40 mutations, all in different genes and most of them protein-altering, that were associated with sporadic schizophrenia, according to their finding that appeared at the journal Nature Genetics.

"Identification of these damaging de novo mutations has fundamentally transformed our understanding of the genetic basis of schizophrenia," said fellow researcher Professor Bin Xu.

The scientists suggest that their finding may pave way to discovery of perhaps hundreds of other mutations that contribute to schizophrenia.

"The fact that the mutations are all from different genes is particularly fascinating," said co-leader Dr. Maria Karayiorgou. "It suggests that many more mutations than we suspected may contribute to schizophrenia. This is probably because of the complexity of the neural circuits that are affected by the disease; many genes are needed for their development and function."

Schizophrenia is common serious mental disease that affects one in every 100 people during their lifetime. A tenth of people with schizophrenia also have a parent with the condition. However, the new study showed that genes may be involved even in none-hereditary forms of the disease.

Source: presstv.ir

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