Researchers Find Multiple Genes that Contribute to Schizophrenia Risk

According to an international study led by researchers from the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) School of Pharmacy, multiple genes contribute to risk for schizophrenia and appear to function in pathways related to transmission of signals in the brain and immunity [1]. The discovery provides scientists with a better understanding the molecular and biological mechanisms involved with schizophrenia that may improve disease management and identify new drug targets. The study is published in the April issue of JAMA Psychiatry.


New Genes Associated with Blood Pressure and Hypertension

High blood pressure or hypertension affects more than one in three people worldwide and is a major cause of strokes, heart attacks and heart failure [1]. The degree with which blood pressure traits can be inherited suggests a genetic component. However, limited consistent evidence of genes associated with blood pressure have been produced. A new study in the journal Nature Genetics reports for the first time a number of genes showing significant associations with blood pressure and hypertension across the genome [2].


Although large-scale genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have been used successfully to identify genes associated with common diseases and traits, studies on blood pressure or hypertension have failed to identify loci at a genome-wide significant threshold (p-value < 5 x 10-8). The significance of GWAS data relies on several variables, including the accuracy of phenotypic measures, density of markers and size of the study population. Thus, if blood pressure variation in the general population is due to multiple genetic factors with small effects, a very large sample size is needed to identify them.