-A curious adult from Canada
October 27, 2016
That’s a tricky question because there isn’t just one gene involved in schizophrenia. Turns out there are lots of them and none of them seem to cause the illness on their own.
And like many other complex diseases, genes aren’t the whole story either. The environment and how we live our lives plays a big role too. What a mess!
But despite all of that, we do know that genes do play a role in schizophrenia. Figuring out which genes is the tricky part.
One of the best ways to tell if a complicated disease is genetic is by looking at identical twins.
Identical twins have the exact same set of DNA. If a disease is 100% genetic, meaning that it’s only due to our genes, then if one twin in a pair has the disease, then the other twin will always have it too.
Same DNA, same genetics, same diseases. Makes sense right?
One gene might tell us that we have brown hair. Another gene might tell our bodies to digest the sugar in milk.
It perhaps isn’t surprising then that lots of genes are involved in something as complicated as schizophrenia. Our brain is a complicated thing and interpreting the world around us isn’t easy!
When there are lots of genes contributing a bit towards the risk for getting a disease, patterns are hard to see. Throw in the environment and the ways we live our lives and things get even messier.