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Rare mutations tied to schizophrenia

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11:11am, April 2, 2008

DNA mutations that likely disrupt brain development occur at relatively high rates in people with schizophrenia, according to data jointly reported by two research teams.

These genetic mutations, many of which are critically situated in genes that have been implicated in various facets of brain development, were present in 15 percent of people diagnosed with schizophrenia in young adulthood or later and in 20 percent of those diagnosed with the severe mental disorder before age 13, the scientists report in an investigation published online March 27 in Science.

There was no one combination of mutations that characterized all the people with schizophrenia. Rather, most people displayed their own unique genetic alterations.

In contrast, novel genetic deletions and duplications appeared in only 5 percent of people who had no psychiatric ailments.

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