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Probing the Association between Early Evolutionary Markers and Schizophrenia.

  • Author(s): Srinivasan, Saurabh;
  • Bettella, Francesco;
  • Hassani, Sahar;
  • Wang, Yunpeng;
  • Witoelar, Aree;
  • Schork, Andrew J;
  • Thompson, Wesley K;
  • Collier, David A;
  • Desikan, Rahul S;
  • Melle, Ingrid;
  • Dale, Anders M;
  • Djurovic, Srdjan;
  • Andreassen, Ole A
  • et al.

Schizophrenia is suggested to be a by-product of the evolution in humans, a compromise for our language, creative thinking and cognitive abilities, and thus, essentially, a human disorder. The time of its origin during the course of human evolution remains unclear. Here we investigate several markers of early human evolution and their relationship to the genetic risk of schizophrenia. We tested the schizophrenia evolutionary hypothesis by analyzing genome-wide association studies of schizophrenia and other human phenotypes in a statistical framework suited for polygenic architectures. We analyzed evolutionary proxy measures: human accelerated regions, segmental duplications, and ohnologs, representing various time periods of human evolution for overlap with the human genomic loci associated with schizophrenia. Polygenic enrichment plots suggest a higher prevalence of schizophrenia associations in human accelerated regions, segmental duplications and ohnologs. However, the enrichment is mostly accounted for by linkage disequilibrium, especially with functional elements like introns and untranslated regions. Our results did not provide clear evidence that markers of early human evolution are more likely associated with schizophrenia. While SNPs associated with schizophrenia are enriched in HAR, Ohno and SD regions, the enrichment seems to be mediated by affiliation to known genomic enrichment categories. Taken together with previous results, these findings suggest that schizophrenia risk may have mainly developed more recently in human evolution.

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