Professor Sir Mike Owen, at the MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics at Cardiff University have found more than fifty new genes that may increase your risk of developing schizophrenia. In a study, titled, “Common Schizophrenia alleles are enriches in mutation-intolerant genes and in regions under strong background selection,” conducted using more than one-hundred thousand individuals, and of those forty-thousand with diagnosed schizophrenia, genes associated with the development of schizophrenia and other neurodevelopment diseases, such as autism, have been isolated.
From this experiment, a major link between the genes associated with schizophrenia and the genes dealing with development has been discovered. If your genes associated with development are compromised, then your risk for developing schizophrenia is increased. For the first time, it is understood that the mutation of these fifty genes can increase your risk for development schizophrenia. In addition, an important question was answered: “if people with schizophrenia have, on average, fewer children than people without the disorder, why does schizophrenia still affect so many people?” The answer is that the genes affiliated with the mental disorder occur in a good majority of the population, and the area, on the genome, where these genes reside, is where natural selection is not very effective. With that, these genes have yet to disappear from the genome, which is why people are still affected by schizophrenia.
This study will be furthered, but, for now, has opened the door for many new treatment options. By understanding the complexity and genetics behind schizophrenia, personalized treatment options may be available, in the future. With better treatment options, those suffering from the schizophrenia will be able to live a better life, without worrying about their illness.