No Evidence That Schizophrenia Candidate Genes Are More Associated With Schizophrenia Than Noncandidate Genes

Emma C Johnson, Richard Border, Whitney E Melroy-Greif, Christiaan A de Leeuw, Marissa A Ehringer, Matthew C Keller

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: A recent analysis of 25 historical candidate gene polymorphisms for schizophrenia in the largest genome-wide association study conducted to date suggested that these commonly studied variants were no more associated with the disorder than would be expected by chance. However, the same study identified other variants within those candidate genes that demonstrated genome-wide significant associations with schizophrenia. As such, it is possible that variants within historic schizophrenia candidate genes are associated with schizophrenia at levels above those expected by chance, even if the most-studied specific polymorphisms are not.

METHODS: The present study used association statistics from the largest schizophrenia genome-wide association study conducted to date as input to a gene set analysis to investigate whether variants within schizophrenia candidate genes are enriched for association with schizophrenia.

RESULTS: As a group, variants in the most-studied candidate genes were no more associated with schizophrenia than were variants in control sets of noncandidate genes. While a small subset of candidate genes did appear to be significantly associated with schizophrenia, these genes were not particularly noteworthy given the large number of more strongly associated noncandidate genes.

CONCLUSIONS: The history of schizophrenia research should serve as a cautionary tale to candidate gene investigators examining other phenotypes: our findings indicate that the most investigated candidate gene hypotheses of schizophrenia are not well supported by genome-wide association studies, and it is likely that this will be the case for other complex traits as well.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)702-708
Number of pages7
JournalBiological Psychiatry
Volume82
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2017

Keywords

  • Journal Article

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