Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) has been advanced as a candidate gene for schizophrenia by virtue of its effects on neurotransmitter systems that are dysregulated in psychiatric disorder and its involvement in the response to antipsychotic drugs. The extensively examined BDNF gene Val66Met (or rs6265) variant has been associated with schizophrenia, and studies have linked this polymorphism to brain morphology, cognitive function, and psychiatric symptoms in schizophrenia. Moreover the BDNF Val66Met variant has been reported to be associated with age of onset in schizophrenia. Genotyping of African-American subjects with schizophrenia for five BDNF coding region single nucleotide polymorphisms revealed variance only at the Val66Met allele. The results of statistical analyses indicate a relationship between the BDNF Val66Met genotype and the ages of first psychiatric hospitalization and first schizophrenia symptoms. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.