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By On February 25th, 2011

Rare gene replication may hold clues for schizophrenia

Previous studies have linked circadian rhythm disturbances with schizophrenia. However, Jonathan Sebat, PhD, of the University of California San Diego, and colleagues, did not purpose to analyze the VIP pathway genome; they by chance unearthed it as suspect during a broad spectrum genome analysis for copy number gains. The authors reported in the Feb. 24 issue of Nature that gene variants, described as microduplications on or around the gene for the vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) receptor, in patients with schizophrenia were 14 times as common relative to controls without mental illness. The researchers, commenting on the findings, said, “While duplications of VIPR2 account for a small percentage of patients, the rapidly growing list of rare copy number variants that are implicated in schizophrenia suggests that this psychiatric disorder is, in part, a constellation of multiple rare diseases… This knowledge, along with a growing interest in the development of drugs targeting rare disorders, provides an avenue for the development of new treatments for schizophrenia.” Click here to read an article from the Chicago Tribune that discusses this study more.

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