A genome-wide copy number variant study of suicidal behavior

Jeffrey A. Gross, Alexandre Bureau, Jordie Croteau, Hanga Galfalvy, Maria A. Oquendo, Fatemeh Haghighi, Chantal Mérette, Ina Giegling, Colin Hodgkinson, David Goldman, Dan Rujescu, J. John Mann, Gustavo Turecki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Suicide and suicide attempts are complex behaviors that result from the interaction of different factors, including genetic variants that increase the predisposition to suicidal behaviors. Copy number variations (CNVs) are deletions or duplications of a segment of DNA usually larger than one kilobase. These structural genetic changes, although quite rare, have been associated with genetic liability to mental disorders, such as autism, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. No genome-wide level studies have been published investigating the potential role of CNVs in suicidal behaviors. Based on single-nucleotide polymorphism array data, we followed the Penn-CNV standards to detect CNVs in 1,608 subjects, comprising 475 suicide and suicide attempt cases and 1,133 controls. Although the initial algorithms determined the presence of CNVs on chromosomes 6 and 12 in seven and eight cases, respectively, compared with none of the controls, visual inspection of the raw data did not support this finding. Furthermore we were unable to validate these findings by CNV-specific real-time polymerase chain reaction. Additionally, rare CNV burden analysis did not find an association between the frequency or length of rare CNVs and suicidal behavior in our sample population. Although our findings suggest CNVs do not play an important role in the etiology of suicidal behaviors, they are not inconsistent with the strong evidence from the literature suggesting that other genetic variants account for a portion of the total phenotypic variability in suicidal behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0128369
JournalPloS one
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 26 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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