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Genetics: New genetic risk variant for psychiatric disease

Nature Communications

November 20, 2013

A new genetic variant associated with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder is reported this week in Nature Communications. The study provides further insight into the genetic components of psychiatric disease.

Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are severe psychiatric disorders that affect 1-4% of the global population. Studies have shown that both disorders have a large genetic contribution, but only a small portion of this contribution has yet been uncovered. Todd Lencz and colleagues carried out a large meta-analysis in almost 25,000 individuals across multiple ethnicities, including Caucasian, Asian and African American, to identify new genetic variants associated with psychiatric disease.

The team identify a genetic variant, rs11098403, that may increase risk of developing schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and suggest that the biological mechanism underlying this association may involve NDST3 expression in critical neurodevelopmental processes such as axon formation and synaptic function. These findings shed light on the genetic architecture and potential therapeutic targets for the treatment of psychiatric disease.

doi: 10.1038/ncomms3739

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