Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Genes Associated With Schizophrenia Evolved Rapidly Due To Selection During Human Evolution

Date:
September 7, 2007
Source:
University of Bath
Summary:
Several genes with strong associations to schizophrenia have evolved rapidly due to selection during human evolution, according to new research. Researchers found a higher prevalence of the influence of so-called positive selection on genes or gene regions known to be associated with the disorder than a comparable control set of non-associated genes, functioning in similar neuronal processes. This is consistent with the theory that positive selection may play a role in the persistence of schizophrenia at a frequency of one per cent in human populations around the world, despite its strong effects on reproductive fitness and its high heritability from generation-to-generation.

Several genes with strong associations to schizophrenia have evolved rapidly due to selection during human evolution, according to new research.

Researchers found a higher prevalence of the influence of so-called positive selection on genes or gene regions known to be associated with the disorder than a comparable control set of non-associated genes, functioning in similar neuronal processes.

This is consistent with the theory that positive selection may play a role in the persistence of schizophrenia at a frequency of one per cent in human populations around the world, despite its strong effects on reproductive fitness and its high heritability from generation-to-generation.

It also provides genetic evidence consistent with the long-standing theory that schizophrenia represents, in part, a maladaptive by-product of adaptive changes during human evolution - possibly to do with aspects of creativity and human cognition.

“The world-wide presence of this disorder at an appreciable frequency, despite its impact on human health and reproductive fitness, is somewhat of a paradox,” said Dr Steve Dorus from the University of Bath, who worked with Dr Bernard Crespi from Simon Fraser University (Canada) and Dr Kyle Summers from East Carolina University (USA) on the research.

“This may be explained by the existing theory that the condition represents, in part, a by-product of adaptive changes during human evolution.

“Our finding that positive evolutionary processes have impacted genes underlying the disorder is consistent with this idea.

“However, the selective forces influencing the evolution of these genes remain unknown.

“Given the complex genetic nature of the condition, selection may be mediated by a diverse array of neurodevelopmental, neurophysiological and psychological mechanisms.

“Schizophrenia has also been associated with creativity throughout recorded history, but whether this link has a genetic basis is certainly not yet clear.”

The researchers analysed the molecular evolution of the 76 genes that have the strongest genetic association with the disorder.

They surveyed human polymorphisms - discrete changes in the human genome that vary between individuals - for very recent selective events within specific human populations.

They also compared genes between mammalian species to identify selection on primate lineages salient to the evolution of humans and the disorder.

The research identified evidence for positive selection on a variety of genes, including three genes that have the best functional or reproducible associations with the disorder: disrupted in schizophrenia (DISC1), dystrobrevin-binding protein 1 (DTNBP1) and neuregulin 1 (NRG1).

“For the first time it is possible to complement our genetic understanding of the disorder with substantial evolutionary and comparative genomic analyses,” said Dr Dorus.

“Decades of intensive research, using association and inheritance studies between affected and non-affected siblings, has resulted in a much clearer understanding of the genetic basis of the disorder.

“Hopefully, a better understanding of the evolution of the substrates underlying the disease will assist in characterizing how they are dysregulated in the disorder.

“Understanding the impact of positive selection may also help refine hypotheses concerning genetic links between schizophrenia and aspects of human creativity and cognition."

The research was published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B 5 September 2007.

The research was funded in part by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, East Carolina University and the National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Bath. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Bath. "Genes Associated With Schizophrenia Evolved Rapidly Due To Selection During Human Evolution." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 September 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070904214422.htm>.
University of Bath. (2007, September 7). Genes Associated With Schizophrenia Evolved Rapidly Due To Selection During Human Evolution. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070904214422.htm
University of Bath. "Genes Associated With Schizophrenia Evolved Rapidly Due To Selection During Human Evolution." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070904214422.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 22, 2014) Big pharma on the move as Novartis boss, Joe Jimenez, tells Reuters about plans to transform his company via an asset exchange with GSK, and Astra Zeneca shares surge on speculation that Pfizer is looking for a takeover. Joanna Partridge reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) A new study finds most crimes committed by people with mental illness are not caused by symptoms of their illness or disorder. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is given hands-on demonstrations Tuesday of some of the newest research from DARPA _ the military's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency program. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) NBC's "Today" conducted an experiment to see if changing the size of plates and utensils affects the amount individuals eat. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins