Neuropsychiatric conditions such as autism and schizophrenia have long been attributed to genetic alterations, but identifying the genes responsible has proved challenging. Microarray experiments have now revealed abundant copy-number variation--a type of variation in which stretches of DNA are duplicated, deleted and sometimes rearranged--in the human population. Genes affected by copy-number variation are good candidates for research into disease susceptibility. The complexity of neuropsychiatric genetics, however, dictates that assessment of the biomedical relevance of copy-number variants and the genes that they affect needs to be considered in an integrated context.
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