On July 28, 2016, SRF held a webinar to discuss how copy number variation on the long arm of chromosome 22 may provide clues to understanding idiopathic schizophrenia. Our panel of discussants included Anne Bassett of the University of Toronto; Carrie Bearden of the University of California, Los Angeles; Erik Boot of the University Health Center in Toronto, Canada; Josh Gordon of Columbia University; and Stanislav Zakharenko of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
People who are missing 30-60 genes in the 22q11.2 region are at greater risk of developing schizophrenia: About a third of people with 22q11 deletion syndrome will develop persistent psychosis, on top of cognitive deficits and other psychiatric and developmental conditions. What is it about the loss of this stretch of DNA that makes it the largest genetic risk factor by far for schizophrenia? The webinar participants approached this with a range of techniques, and by studying both human and non-human animal models. We got an overview of what they have learned, as well as an update on research in progress.