Schizophrenia genetics: emerging themes for a complex disorder

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Abstract

After two decades of frustration, genetic studies of schizophrenia have entered an era of spectacular success. Advances in genotyping technologies and high throughput sequencing, increasing analytic rigour and collaborative efforts on a global scale have generated a profusion of new findings. The broad conclusions from these studies are threefold: (1) schizophrenia is a highly polygenic disorder with a complex array of contributing risk loci across the allelic frequency spectrum;(2) many psychiatric illnesses share risk genes and alleles, specifically, schizophrenia has substantial overlaps with bipolar disorder, intellectual disability, major depressive disorder and autism spectrum disorders; and (3) some convergent biological themes are emerging from studies of schizophrenia and related disorders. In this commentary, we focus on the very recent findings that have emerged in the past 12 months, and in particular, the areas of convergence that are beginning to emerge from multiple study designs.

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