Candidate genes and their interactions with other genetic/environmental risk factors in the etiology of schizophrenia

K. M. Prasad, M. E. Talkowski, K. V. Chowdari, L. McClain, R. H. Yolken, V. L. Nimgaonkar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Identification of causative factors for common, chronic disorders is a major focus of current human health science research. These disorders are likely to be caused by multiple etiological agents. Available evidence also suggests that interactions between the risk factors may explain some of their pathogenic effects. While progress in genomics and allied biological research has brought forth powerful analytic techniques, the predicted complexity poses daunting analytic challenges. The search for pathogenesis of schizophrenia shares most of these challenges. We have reviewed the analytic and logistic problems associated with the search for pathogenesis. Evidence for pathogenic interactions is presented for selected diseases and for schizophrenia. We end by suggesting 'recursive analyses' as a potential design to address these challenges. This scheme involves initial focused searches for interactions motivated by available evidence, typically involving identified individual risk factors, such as candidate gene variants. Putative interactions are tested rigorously for replication and for biological plausibility. Support for the interactions from statistical and functional analyses motivates a progressively larger array of interactants that are evaluated recursively. The risk explained by the interactions is assessed concurrently and further elaborate searches may be guided by the results of such analyses. By way of example, we summarize our ongoing analyses of dopaminergic polymorphisms, as well as infectious etiological factors in schizophrenia genesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)86-92
Number of pages7
JournalBrain Research Bulletin
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Sep 2010


  • Epistasis
  • Etiology
  • Gene-environment
  • Gene-gene
  • Interactions
  • Schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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