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Schizophrenia risk gets more complex

Three studies find that thousands of genetic variants probably contribute

Large collections of common genetic variants, rather than the harmful actions of just a few key mutations, probably predispose people to schizophrenia, three large genetic studies suggest.

The studies, all published online July 1 in Nature, sifted through mountains of genetic data from patients with schizophrenia and people without the disease looking for spelling differences in the sequence of letters that make up the genome. The studies also turned up specific chromosome regions that probably play a role in the disease. Understanding such genetic factors, estimated to account for 80 percent of the total risk of getting schizophrenia, may ultimately lead to better treatments.

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