Studies on twins and families have time and time again found the risk of developing psychotic disorders is higher if siblings previously developed such a condition. This tells us that there’s an interplay of genetic factors that puts people at risk of developing mental illnesses. Identifying which genes or set of genes are responsible could help countless people but much like the unfortunate minds of the patients, such information is often hidden under a tangled mess of code. Yet in what can be considered a breakthrough, scientists have managed to find a new gene linked to psychosis.A rare mutationLarge-scale genome-wide association studies have previously identified genetic variants that can be linked to psychosis among the general population. Such studies are useful but they often turn up with potentially ‘risky’ genes that have a small effect. Studies that attempt to uncover rare genetic variants that are rarely seen in the general population are much harder to come by. These are desirable and valuable because such genes must greatly raise the risk of psychosis within some families and are also associated with more severe forms of psychosis like schizophrenia.
Icelandic family of ten psychotic members helps identify new psychosis-related mutation