Strong genetic selection against some psych disorders

Strong genetic selection against some psych disorders
Different evolutionary mechanisms likely support the persistence of various psychiatric disorders, according to a study published in the January issue of JAMA Psychiatry.

(HealthDay)—Different evolutionary mechanisms likely support the persistence of various psychiatric disorders, according to a study published in the January issue of JAMA Psychiatry.

Robert A. Power, from King's College London, and colleagues measured the fecundity of patients with schizophrenia, autism, bipolar disorder, depression, anorexia nervosa, or substance abuse versus their unaffected siblings and the general population in order to assess the level of selection on causal genetic variants. Data were obtained from the Swedish Multi-Generation Register and the Swedish Hospital Discharge Register for 2.3 million individuals in the 1950 to 1970 birth cohort.

The researchers found that affected patients had significantly fewer children ( range from 0.23 to 0.93), with the exception of women with depression. The reduction in fecundity was greater among men than women. Sisters of patients with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder had significantly increased fecundity, while brothers of patients with schizophrenia and autism showed significantly lower fecundity. Fecundity was significantly increased among all siblings of patients with depression and substance abuse.

"Our results suggest that strong selection exists against schizophrenia, autism, and and that these variants may be maintained by new mutations or an as-yet unknown mechanism," the authors write. "Vulnerability to depression, and perhaps substance abuse, may be preserved by balancing selection, suggesting the involvement of common genetic variants in ways that depend on other genes and on environment."

One author disclosed to the pharmaceutical industry.

More information: Abstract
Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)

Related Stories

Gene links to anorexia found

date Nov 19, 2010

Scientists at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia have identified both common and rare gene variants associated with the eating disorder anorexia nervosa. In the largest genetic study of this psychiatric disorder, the ...

Recommended for you

Pupil response predicts depression risk in kids

date 1 hour ago

How much a child's pupil dilates in response to seeing an emotional image can predict his or her risk of depression over the next two years, according to new research from Binghamton University.

Best friends may help poor kids succeed

date Jul 06, 2015

(HealthDay)—Children who grow up in poor neighborhoods face more obstacles in life, but new research suggests that having a best friend can help these kids succeed.

User comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

loneislander
Jan 05, 2013
"Our results suggest that strong selection exists against schizophrenia, autism, and anorexia nervosa and that these variants may be maintained by [a] new [...] as-yet unknown mechanism"

Well, let's not confuse schizophrenia and anorexia with autism. The former are definite disorders and the latter has been mis-named that way for the past few decades.

The "new as-yet unknown" mechanism which keeps Autism alive is that Auspies have given the world most theoretical sciences (e=mc^2 and another few thousand similarly contrived gifts to humanity) because abstract thought, to us, is like linear thought to the rest of you.

A very careful reading of the research already supports this (I expect it will become the common wisdom in a decade or two).
Parsec
Jan 05, 2013
"Our results suggest that strong selection exists against schizophrenia, autism, and anorexia nervosa and that these variants may be maintained by [a] new [...] as-yet unknown mechanism"

Well, let's not confuse schizophrenia and anorexia with autism. The former are definite disorders and the latter has been mis-named that way for the past few decades.

The "new as-yet unknown" mechanism which keeps Autism alive is that Auspies have given the world most theoretical sciences (e=mc^2 and another few thousand similarly contrived gifts to humanity) because abstract thought, to us, is like linear thought to the rest of you.

A very careful reading of the research already supports this (I expect it will become the common wisdom in a decade or two).

I agree with you, but the real question isn't societal benefit, but individual one. Do nerds have more kids?
trapezoid
Jan 05, 2013
have given the world most theoretical sciences

And most physorg forum posts
Sinister1811
Jan 06, 2013
Well, let's not confuse schizophrenia and anorexia with autism. The former are definite disorders and the latter has been mis-named that way for the past few decades.


That's a bit ignorant, is it not?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.