Genetics of clinical features and subtypes of schizophrenia: A review of the recent literature
Since its earliest descriptions, schizophrenia has been thought to be clinically heterogeneous. Symptomatic features and subtypes tend to aggregate in families, suggesting that genetic factors contribute to individual differences in illness presentation. Over the past 5 years, evidence from genetic linkage and association studies has mounted to suggest that some susceptibility genes are etiologic factors for more or less specific illness subtypes. Furthermore, modifier genes may affect clinical features dimensionally only after a given patient is already affected with the illness. In this paper, we review recent findings supporting the existence of such "modifier" genes. To date, DTNBP1 has provided the greatest evidence of illness modification, as associations with negative and cognitive symptoms and worse outcome have been published in independent samples. Future directions include using whole-genome association studies to search for genetic modifiers of schizophrenia.