Genetics of schizophrenia in South African Xhosa informs understanding for all human populations

January 30, 2020

In the first genetic analysis of schizophrenia in an ancestral African population, the South African Xhosa, researchers report that individuals with schizophrenia are more likely to carry rare damaging genetic mutations than those who are well. The work informs the understanding of schizophrenia for all human populations. Critically, this study was not undertaken because the Xhosa have an unusually high prevalence of schizophrenia, but rather, because ancestral African populations - which rarely have been the focus of genetics research - harbor the most human genetic diversity. The lack of genetics studies in Africa, where nearly 99% of human evolution took place, leaves a major gap in understanding the human genome and the genetic causes of complex diseases like schizophrenia. Without studies in Africa, many generations of human genetic history are missing from scientists' understanding of human adaptation and disease. Schizophrenia, a debilitating long-term mental disorder that can significantly impact how a person thinks, feels, and behaves, is estimated to affect between 0.3-0.7% of the world's population. The illness varies genetically among patients, and in many patients involves mutations that damage genes essential to brain development. Because fewer children are born to persons with schizophrenia, very recent and de novo mutations are a major factor in its development. Suleyman Gulsuner and colleagues from the U.S. and South Africa examined the DNA sequences of all genes from more than 1,800 Xhosa individuals from South Africa, roughly half of whom had been diagnosed with schizophrenia. Individuals with schizophrenia were more likely to carry one or more rare damaging mutations, particularly in genes that function in brain synapses. Human biology is universal. The greater genetic variation in Africans provides a unique opportunity to discover and evaluate disease-associated genes that are relevant to all human populations. These discoveries can help inform new treatments.
-end-


American Association for the Advancement of Science

Related Schizophrenia Articles from Brightsurf:

Schizophrenia: When the thalamus misleads the ear
Scientists at the University of Geneva (UNIGE) and the Synapsy National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) have succeeded in linking the onset of auditory hallucinations - one of the most common symptoms of schizophrenia - with the abnormal development of certain substructures of a region deep in the brain called the thalamus.

Unlocking schizophrenia
New research, led by Prof. LIU Bing and Prof. JIANG Tianzi from the Institute of Automation of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and their collaborators have recently developed a novel imaging marker that may help in the personalized medicine of psychiatric disorders.

Researchers discover second type of schizophrenia
In a study of more than 300 patients from three continents, over one third had brains that looked similar to healthy people.

New clues into the genetic origins of schizophrenia
The first genetic analysis of schizophrenia in an ancestral African population, the South African Xhosa, appears in the Jan.

Dietary supplement may help with schizophrenia
A dietary supplement, sarcosine, may help with schizophrenia as part of a holistic approach complementing antipsychotic medication, according to a UCL researcher.

Schizophrenia: Adolescence is the game-changer
Schizophrenia may be related to the deletion syndrome. However, not everyone who has the syndrome necessarily develops psychotic symptoms.

Study suggests overdiagnosis of schizophrenia
In a small study of patients referred to the Johns Hopkins Early Psychosis Intervention Clinic (EPIC), Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers report that about half the people referred to the clinic with a schizophrenia diagnosis didn't actually have schizophrenia.

The ways of wisdom in schizophrenia
Researchers at UC San Diego School of Medicine report that persons with schizophrenia scored lower on a wisdom assessment than non-psychiatric comparison participants, but that there was considerable variability in levels of wisdom, and those with higher scores displayed fewer psychotic symptoms.

Recognizing the uniqueness of different individuals with schizophrenia
Individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia differ greatly from one another. Researchers from Radboud university medical center, along with colleagues from England and Norway, have demonstrated that very few identical brain differences are shared amongst different patients.

Resynchronizing neurons to erase schizophrenia
Today, a decisive step in understanding schizophrenia has been taken.

Read More: Schizophrenia News and Schizophrenia Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.