Researchers: Schizophrenia may be influenced by several genetic disorders

For years it's been assumed that schizophrenia is one specific genetic disorder that can produce a variety of mentally challenging symptoms.

For years it's been assumed that schizophrenia is one specific genetic disorder that can produce a variety of mentally challenging symptoms. While tons of research has focused on crafting effective forms of treatment, such as Geodon, there are still many questions that the medical community is still trying to answer in regards to the disease. One study has now unlocked a clue in the mystery of schizophrenia that could potentially lead to more beneficial answers for the illness.

Researchers from Washington University in St. Louis have discovered that schizophrenia might in fact be eight distinct genetic disorders occurring at once rather than just one specific kind of mental illness. The colleagues gathered 4,000 people who were living with schizophrenia to analyze DNA. These efforts aimed to identify the gene clusters believed to contribute to eight different classes of schizophrenia.

The specific evidence analyzed by the researchers was a single unit of DNA that altered within the subjects. This is known as a single nucleotide polymorphism, or SNP. Researchers eventually identified 42 distinct interactive SNP sets that signaled whether a person faced a significantly higher risk of developing schizophrenia. Some of these SNP gene clusters were found to exhibit a nearly 100 percent increase in schizophrenia likelihood.

Dr. Robert Cloninger, a professor at Washington University and lead author of the study, described how his research team took a different approach to examining genes of schizophrenia that could lead to a more organized way of tracking the origins of the disease.

"Genes don't operate by themselves," Cloninger said in a statement. "What we've done here, after a decade of frustration in the field of psychiatric genetics, is identify the way genes interact with each other, how the 'orchestra' is either harmonious and leads to health, or disorganized in ways that lead to distinct classes of schizophrenia."

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