12. Classical Genetic Studies of Schizophrenia

  1. Daniel R. Weinberger MD2 and
  2. Paul J. Harrison MA, BM, BCh, DM(Oxon), FRCPsych3
  1. Brien Riley PhD and
  2. Kenneth S. Kendler MD

Published Online: 8 MAR 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9781444327298.ch12

Schizophrenia, Third Edition

Schizophrenia, Third Edition

How to Cite

Riley, B. and Kendler, K. S. (2010) Classical Genetic Studies of Schizophrenia, in Schizophrenia, Third Edition (eds D. R. Weinberger and P. J. Harrison), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444327298.ch12

Editor Information

  1. 2

    Genes, Cognition and Psychosis Program, Clinical Studies Section, Clinical Brain Disorders Branch, National Institute of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA

  2. 3

    Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, Warneford Hospital, Oxford, UK

Author Information

  1. Departments of Psychiatry and Human and Molecular Genetics, and Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 8 MAR 2011
  2. Published Print: 10 DEC 2010

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405176972

Online ISBN: 9781444327298



  • schizophrenia;
  • genetic epidemiology;
  • family;
  • twin;
  • adoption;
  • linkage;
  • association;
  • molecular genetics


The current model of liability to schizophrenia holds that both genetic and non-genetic risk factors contribute to the development of the illness. Genetic epidemiology consistently supports the involvement of genes in liability. Molecular genetic studies have made slow progress in identifying specific liability genes, but recent progress suggests that a number of specific genes contributing to risk have been identified. These collective results are complex and inconsistent with a single common DNA variant in any gene influencing risk across human populations. No specific genetic variant influencing risk has yet been unambiguously identified. Contemporary approaches hold great promise to further elucidate liability genes and their potential interrelationship. In order to understand why researchers have come to these conclusions, we review what is known about the genetic epidemiology and molecular genetics of schizophrenia in some detail. We also consider how this field of study informs our understanding of the potential structure of non-genetic risk factors.