INTRODUCTION: The Danish Twin Registry (DTR) has for more than 50 years been based on surveys and clinical investigations and over the two last decades also on register linkage. Currently these two approaches are merged within Statistics Denmark. RESEARCH TOPICS: Here we report on three major groups of register-based research in the DTR that used the uniqueness of twinning.
Although a decade has passed since the genetics of schizophrenia was examined for the Schizophrenia Bulletin, the epigenetic puzzle of schizophrenia has not yielded its secrets to any scientific break-through. In this article we review a sample of the highlights relevant to enlightened genetic thinking, i.e., a broad diathesis-stressor framework with multifactorial causation assumed and with provision for the epigenetic interaction of psychosocial as well as neurobiological factors.
Fluctuating asymmetry of bilateral morphological traits is the result of prenatal developmental instability and has been shown to be greater in organisms having more homozygous genotypes (aabb vs. AaBb, for example). This expected increase in fluctuating asymmetry has been found among individuals having a high degree of liability for schizophrenia, as this disorder appears to have a polygenic basis.
Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
OBJECTIVE: The authors present a model of the developmental psychopathology and neurobiology of Tourette's syndrome that provides a framework for ongoing research and treatment. METHOD: The model is based on clinical experience and a selective review of relevant scientific literature. RESULTS: During the past decade, Tourette's syndrome and related conditions have emerged as model disorders to study the interplay of genetic, neurobiological, psychological, and environmental factors during development.
There is compelling evidence from family, twin and adoption studies of a substantial genetic contribution to schizophrenia. The mode of transmission is complicated and very rarely if ever involves a single gene. Rather schizophrenia results from multiple genes of small effect and their interplay with the environment. Perhaps because the overall size of the genetic effect is large, accounting for about 80 % of variance, definite environmental factors have been difficult to pin down.
Human monozygotic twins and other genetically identical organisms are almost always strikingly similar in appearance, yet they are often discordant for important phenotypes including complex diseases. Such variation among organisms with virtually identical chromosomal DNA sequences has largely been attributed to the effects of environment.
American Journal of Medical Genetics. Part B, Neuropsychiatric Genetics: The Official Publication of the International Society of Psychiatric Genetics
Monozygotic (MZ) twins may be subject to epigenetic modifications that could result in different patterns of gene expression. Several lines of evidence suggest that epigenetic factors may underlie mental disorders such as bipolar disorder (BD) and schizophrenia (SZ). One important epigenetic modification, of relevance to female MZ twins, is X-chromosome inactivation. Some MZ female twin pairs are discordant for monogenic X linked disorders because of differential X inactivation.
The major psychotic disorders schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are etiologically complex involving both heritable and nonheritable factors. The absence of consistently replicated major genetic effects, together with evidence for lasting changes in gene expression after environmental exposures, is consistent with the concept that the biologic underpinnings of these disorders are epigenetic in form rather than DNA sequence based.
Bipolar disorder (BD) is a severe mental disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of mania and depression. Serotonin transporter (HTT) is a target of antidepressants and is one of the strongest candidate molecules of mood disorder, however, genetic study showed equivocal results. Here, we performed promoter-wide DNA methylation analysis of lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs) derived from two pairs of monozygotic twins discordant for BD.
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, and Allied Disciplines
Biological development is driven by a complex dance between nurture and nature, determined not only by the specific features of the interacting genetic and environmental influences but also by the timing of their rendezvous. The initiation of large-scale longitudinal studies, ever-expanding knowledge of genetics, and increasing availability of neuroimaging data to provide endophenotypic bridges between molecules and behavior are beginning to provide some insight into interactions of developmental stage, genes, and the environment, although daunting challenges remain.