Summary

Data gathered from linkage and association studies, high-risk investigations and twin studies are consistent with Kraepelin (see 11) and Koller's (see 10) speculations nearly 100 years ago that schizophrenia is a heritable disorder. Linkage and association studies have been useful in suggesting possible genetic contributors. For example, linkage studies suggest that mutations on chromosomes 6p, 8p and 11q may be involved [16-18]. High-risk studies have contributed significantly to the notion that schizophrenia is a neurodevelopmental disorder, as evidenced by the presence of social and biobehavioural anomalies spanning from infancy through adulthood [49]. Consistent with cross-sectional investigations, these studies also strongly suggest that attentional impairments are a potentially important predictor of later development of schizophrenia and spectrum disorders [42]. Based on data from the New York High-risk Project, verbal memory, gross motor skills and attention deviance predict schizophrenia with a sensitivity of 46%, specificity of 10% and 83% overall accuracy [44]. Finally, twin studies offer further evidence that genes and environment influence the disease process, although concordance is not found even in monozygotic twins [14]. Guidry and Kent [52] speculate that this lack of concordance may be related to variability in the environment of the developing neuronal system.

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