During the past five years or so, the field of psychiatric genetics has exploded, experts in the field concur.
Whereas only a handful of gene variants that contribute to psychiatric illnesses had been identified before 2008, now close to 200 have, Jordan Smoller, M.D., Sc.D., a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and a psychiatric genetics expert, said in an interview. “They range from common variations that affect gene expression to rare variations in genes themselves to copy number variations that result in the deletion or duplication of chunks of DNA.”
The findings have been especially fruitful in schizophrenia and autism, Lynn DeLisi, M.D., reported. DeLisi, like Smoller, is a professor of psychiatry and a psychiatric genetics expert at Harvard. “I think that schizophrenia has been the most successful, and next to that, autism,” she said.
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