June 23 2010

Genomic Analysis of Mental IllnessA Changing Landscape

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Departments of Psychiatry (Dr McClellan), Medicine, and Genome Sciences (Dr King), University of Washington, Seattle.

JAMA. 2010;303(24):2523-2524. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.869

The earth is shifting beneath psychiatric genetics. Schizophrenia and other complex neuropsychiatric disorders are characterized by genetic heterogeneity to an extent far greater than previously recognized. Individually rare mutations, many de novo and others a few generations old, may be collectively responsible for a substantial portion of mental illness. The degree of heterogeneity is so great that most unrelated patients may have a different genetic cause. This phenomenon has fundamental implications for translational and interventional research.

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