Genetics of Schizophrenia: Overview of Methods, Findings and Limitations

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Genetics constitute a crucial risk factor to schizophrenia. In the last decade, molecular genetic research has produced novel findings, infusing optimism about discovering the biological roots of schizophrenia. However, the complexity of the object of inquiry makes it almost impossible for non-specialists in genetics (e.g., many clinicians and researchers) to get a proper understanding and appreciation of the genetic findings and their limitations. This study aims at facilitating such an understanding by providing a brief overview of some of the central methods and findings in schizophrenia genetics, from its historical origins to its current status, and also by addressing some limitations and challenges that confront this field of research. In short, the genetic architecture of schizophrenia has proven to be highly complex, heterogeneous and polygenic. The disease risk is constituted by numerous common genetic variants of only very small individual effect and by rare, highly penetrant genetic variants of larger effects. In spite of recent advances in molecular genetics, our knowledge of the etiopathogenesis of schizophrenia and the genotype-environment interactions remain limited.
Original languageEnglish
Article number322
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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