Researchers from UCLA may have found the root cause for schizophrenia, a mental illness that cause cognitive problems.
They used a new technology for DNA analysis where they found two major biological pathways that causes the disorder, which were not found on previous studies about the illness. They believe that their findings provide new information on the origin of the illness.
Lead researcher Daniel Geschwind explained that their findings serve as the road map in understanding common genetic variations. This can also help researchers understand how complex disease affect specific genes, Science Daily reported.
For this study, the researchers tested a 2014 study about schizophrenia. The study linked the disorder to DNA variations on 100 locations in the human genome.
The researchers used a new technology called chromosome conformation capture, which marks and maps the location of the chromosomes. Using this technology, they found new connections of some genes to schizophrenia.
CNN reported that the researchers confirmed that DNA linked with schizophrenia can come into contact the early stages of brain development. They found out that DNA is mostly active during early brain development.
Geschwind explained that this is the time when neurons migrate to different parts of the brain. They found out that schizophrenia loci (locations) made up less than 10 percent of the genome.
Hyejung Won from UCLA explained that the locus has a small impact in schizophrenia. It doesn't mean that you have a locus you are already schizophrenic.
Won explained that the schizophrenia is not just caused by a single gene. There's a heterogeneity in it which means it's caused by different regions not just one.
The researchers also added that most people don't look at schizophrenia as child related because it happens in adulthood. Now, their study wants to change that they want to prove that schizophrenia develops on the early fetal brain development.
They believe that in the future their findings can contribute to the creation of new treatments.