Strong genetic selection against some psych disorders

January 5, 2013
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.

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loneislander
2.3 / 5 (7) 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
1 / 5 (2) 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
1.8 / 5 (4) Jan 05, 2013
have given the world most theoretical sciences

And most physorg forum posts
Sinister1811
3 / 5 (2) 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?

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