A risk gene for schizophrenia, including a potentially causative mutation, using genome-wide association data-mining techniques and independent replications has been discovered by scientists.
Although scientists have earlier used genome-wide association studies to identify genes responsible for diseases that include type 2 diabetes, lung cancer, Parkinson's disease and rheumatoid, the same approach was not as successful for the study of schizophrenia.
Xiangning Chen, and Kenneth S. Kendler, M.D. led the research, both are professor of psychiatry and human and molecular genetics in the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics.
Chen mentioned that to obtain consistent results, researchers considered the results from many independent samples.
The team used that approach in this study by first screening two genome-wide association datasets with statistic, genomic, informatic and genetic data and then ranking the top candidate. Chen said that the selected candidates were verified by more than 20 independent samples.
According to the professor, the work is one of the largest genetic studies of schizophrenia and included more than 33,000 participants that identify cardiomyopathy associated 5, or CMYA5, as a risk gene for schizophrenia.
"While its implication for patient care is not clear at this moment, it is fair to say that our paper provides a new target for future research and a practical method to identify other potential risk genes. The findings are one of the most consistent findings in recent literature," he concluded.
The study has been reported in the September issue of the journal Molecular Psychiatry.