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New statistical approaches exploit the polygenic architecture of schizophrenia--implications for the underlying neurobiology.

  • Author(s): Schork, Andrew J;
  • Wang, Yunpeng;
  • Thompson, Wesley K;
  • Dale, Anders M;
  • Andreassen, Ole A
  • et al.

Schizophrenia is a complex disorder with high heritability. Recent findings from several large genetic studies suggest a large number of risk variants are involved (i.e. schizophrenia is a polygenic disorder) and analytic approaches could be tailored for this scenario. Novel statistical approaches for analyzing GWAS data have recently been developed to be more sensitive to polygenic traits. These approaches have provided intriguing new insights into neurobiological pathways and support for the involvement of regulatory mechanisms, neurotransmission (glutamate, dopamine, GABA), and immune and neurodevelopmental pathways. Integrating the emerging statistical genetics evidence with sound neurobiological experiments will be a crucial, and challenging, next step in deciphering the specific disease mechanisms of schizophrenia.

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