Mount Sinai Researchers have been studying schizophrenia and are intrigued by the fact this mental illness has not been seen in species other than humans, though other animals have similar genetics. Because of the astronomical amount of data that exists in studying the human genome, the researchers have been able to examine genetic architecture from schizophrenia patients using technology that did not exist in the past.

The fact that schizophrenia has survived and evolved at the genetic level may have much to do with the relationship to human intelligence. Molecular history linked very specific areas of the genome called human accelerated regions or HARs , which animals have as well, to schizophrenia at locations on the gene called loci.

In non-human primates schizophrenia loci associated HARs were only found in the pre-frontal cortex of the brain. This suggests that brain development and communication between cells in the brain could be effected. Knowing more about the relationship of mental illness and brain biology could result in new medications for schizophrenia as well as other mental illness.

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