Genomic  exploration of brain disorders

Genomic  exploration of brain disorders

A team of researchers, including scientists from UNC School of Medicine, has developed a model of unprecedented sophistication that relates variations in DNA and gene activity to the risk of brain disorders.

The model, described in a paper published in Science, draws from prior studies of thousands of healthy people and people with brain disorders. Scientists can now use it as a tool to explore the biological mechanisms of disorders such as schizophrenia and autism, which have largely eluded a deep understanding and have no cure.

“It’s the most comprehensive functional genomic resource ever developed for understanding the brain, and it establishes a framework for integrating different kinds of genomics data to get deep insights into the biology of brain disorders,” said co-first author Hyejung Won, PhD, assistant professor genetics at the UNC School of Medicine and member of the UNC Neuroscience Center.

Scientists in the last few decades have performed hundreds of studies that gather DNA-sequence and related data on large groups of people to identify DNA variations and other genome-related factors associated with diseases. These genomics studies have generated important clues to the biological causes of many illnesses.

Source: Scientists create genomic resource to explore biological underpinnings of brain disorders