A new international study has found 83 new spots in our DNA that can be linked to schizophrenia. This new addition makes for a total of 108 genes that can be associated with the disease.
A team of over 100 researchers from across the world came together to work on the biggest genomic mapping of schizophrenia to date. The team looked at the genetic codes of over 150,000 people, of which almost 37,000 of those people had the disease.
In total, 108 genetic markers have been linked to the disease. Previously, only 25 had been linked, making this one of the biggest schizophrenia-related breakthroughs ever.
“It’s a genetic revelation; schizophrenia has been a mystery,” said study co-author Steve McCarroll, director of genetics for the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. “Results like this give you things to work on. It takes it out of the zone of guesses about which genes are relevant.”
The researchers noted that even more DNA locations might be linked with the disease. However, that would require a lot more genetic codes to look through and a lot more time and funding.
But research like this is what will eventually help in developing better ways to combat the disease. Currently, around 1 percent of the world’s population is impacted by schizophrenia, which is a mind-altering disease that can cause hallucinations and psychotic episodes.
“For the first time, we are starting to see the underlying biological basis of the disease, and that can lay the foundation for understanding the disorder, and eventually developing treatments,” said Eric Lander, founding director of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.
The genetic discoveries may help scientists and doctors discover how genetic changes can work together to cause the symptoms of schizophrenia. Although new medications may not come right away, the researchers have said that their work will allow for better medications to be made within the next couple of years.
The study was published in the journal Nature.