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Back To Vidyya deCODE Genetics And Roche Announce Identification Of Schizophrenia Gene

Discovery Is Result Of Genome-Wide Screen Conducted With Participation Of 400 Schizophrenia Patients

deCODE genetics and Roche announced today that scientists at deCODE together with psychiatrists from the Icelandic healthcare system have identified a gene linked to schizophrenia.

This discovery is the result of a genome-wide screen conducted with the participation of 400 Icelandic schizophrenia patients and an equal number of their unaffected family members. The study marks a crucial step towards identifying susceptibility genes and understanding their function in this disease.

Using deCODE's research results, Roche scientists are developing new diagnostic and therapeutic tools.

Approximately 0.5% to 1.0% of people worldwide will develop schizophrenia during their lifetime. Its onset usually occurs in early adulthood and affects its victims lifelong, exacting a heavy toll on both patients and their families. Current therapies are limited in their effectiveness because of the limited understanding of the biology and molecular pathology of the disease. Finding specific disease-linked gene variants will lead to a better understanding of the nature of schizophrenia, may provide pathologically validated targets for better medicines, and may allow, based on predisposition diagnostics, prevention of the illness.

Kari Stefansson, CEO of deCODE genetics, noted that "We are deeply grateful to the Icelandic patients who participated in this study. Their generosity and the expertise of deCODE scientists and of the physicians who support our efforts have moved us one step closer to understanding the genetic basis of schizophrenia."

Jonathan Knowles, Head of Global Research at Roche, remarked that "This is a truly remarkable success for our alliance with deCODE. We are excited to have access to what appears to be the first genetically-identified target for developing new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches against this devastating illness."

deCODE genetics (, based in Reykjavik, Iceland, is conducting research into the inherited causes of common diseases. Through its population-based approach and data-mining techniques, deCODE seeks to turn raw genomics data into products and services for the healthcare industry.

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Editor: Susan K. Boyer, RN
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