Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/). Schizophrenia is a debilitating psychiatric disorder, characterised by hallucinations, delusions, thought disorder and cognitive deficits, and has a lifetime prevalence of around 1%. Evidence for a substantial genetic contribution comes from family, twin and adoption studies  but the underlying causes and pathogenesis of the disorder remains unknown. selleckchem The past few years have witnessed marked progress in
our understanding of genetic risk at the level of DNA variation, which has been largely driven by applying advanced genomic technologies to very large samples. There is evidence that risk variants occur across the full allelic frequency spectrum, many of which are associated with other neuropsychiatric disorders. Moreover, genetic associations involving different classes of mutations have now implicated specific see more biological pathways in disease pathogenesis. This review will cover recent advances in schizophrenia genetics from studies of de novo mutation, rare copy number variation (CNV), rare single nucleotide variant (SNV, defined as point mutations with a frequency less than 1%) and small insertion/deletion (indel) mutations and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs, defined as point mutations with a frequency greater than 1%) ( Figure 1). High heritability estimates for schizophrenia suggest that
much of the risk is inherited . However, alleles which are not inherited, i.e. newly arising (de novo) mutations, have also been shown to contribute to risk. In addition, increased paternal age at conception, which is correlated with the number of de novo mutations observed in an individual [ 3 and 4], has been
associated with increased Molecular motor schizophrenia risk [ 5]. The first molecular evidence associating de novo mutation with schizophrenia came from studies of CNVs [ 6, 7 and 8]. Across studies, the CNV de novo mutation rate was found to be significantly elevated in schizophrenia (∼5%) versus controls (∼2%), with some evidence for a higher rate among patients with no family history of the disorder [ 6, 7 and 8]. The median size of de novo CNVs > 100 Kb found in schizophrenia cases (574 Kb [ 6, 7 and 8]) is also larger compared with that in controls (337 Kb [ 6, 7, 8 and 9]). Selection coefficients (s) between 0.12 and 0.88 have been estimated for CNVs robustly associated with schizophrenia (a selection coefficient of 1 being reproductively lethal) [ 10]. With this intensity of selection, de novo CNVs at schizophrenia-associated loci are purged from the population in less than five generations [ 10]. Studying gene-sets overrepresented for being disrupted by de novo mutation in schizophrenia has provided novel insights into biological pathways underlying the disorder. For example, genes disrupted by schizophrenia de novo CNVs are enriched for those in the post-synaptic-density proteome [ 6].