16 Recently, however, important advances have been made as a result of rapid developments in technologies that are able to decipher
the variability of the human genome at high resolution, and which allow systematic investigation of the impact of such variability in large samples. This article summarizes these developments in genetic research into schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and discusses possible future directions in this field. Genome-wide association studies The introduction of the genome-wide association study (GWAS) is the result of enormous technological advances. Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical GWASs involve the use of arrays that simultaneously genotype several hundred thousand single nucleotide SB-715992 solubility dmso polymorphisms (SNPs) per individual. This enables a hypothesis-free search of every gene and most intergenic regions of the genome in samples of unrelated patients and controls. In this respect GWASs resemble genome-wide linkage studies (genome scans), but they have several major advantages: (i) they are not dependent on the recruitment of families; Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical (ii) they have better resolution since (in contrast to linkage) they detect linkage disequilibrium with susceptibility variants, which usually extends over smaller genomic regions (in the range of a few ten thousand base pairs); and (iii) they
have greater power to detect small genetic effects. In contrast to linkage studies, however, they Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical are restricted to the investigation of common variants, since SNPs with low minor allele frequencies are poorly represented on currently available arrays. A serious difficulty in evaluating the results Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical of GWASs is the issue of multiple testing. A large number of SNPs may be tested within the same study for their association with a disease, and this generates many nominally significant findings that are actually false positives. It is therefore necessary to correct for multiple testing to achieve the level of genomewide significance. This level is dependent upon the number of SNPs analyzed, and the threshold for currently available GWA chips is approximately 5 x 10-8 (660 000 to 1 000 000 SNPs).17-19 This correction method Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical Oxalosuccinic acid is very conservative since the association
findings of each SNP are considered to be independent, and the haplotype structure of the genome is not taken into account. Conservative correction for multiple testing reduces the risk of false-positive findings, but hampers the detection of true association signals that represent small effects on disease risk. Following the publication of the first GWAS in agerelated macular degeneration,20 successful GWASs have been conducted for a variety of common, complex diseases including type 2 diabetes, myocardial infarction, breast cancer, and Crohn’s disease (for details of all published studies see http://www.genome.gov/gwastudies/). Schizophrenia The first GWASs for schizophrenia have recently been published.21-30 Three of these studies used pooled DNA samples.