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Comment on the use of genetic findings on schizophrenia.

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American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B (Neuropsychiatric Genetics) 141B:429 (2006)
Commentary
Comment on the Use of Genetic Findings on Schizophrenia
Please cite this article as follows: DeLisi LE. 2006.
Comment on the Use of Genetic Findings on Schizophrenia. Am J Med Genet Part B 141B:429.
Dear Editors:
Dr. Austin, a genetic counselor, has commented on the
evidence-based data presented in our manuscript [DeLisi and
Bertisch, 2006]. I believe she focuses on some interesting
points:
(1) that those who say they would want to have genetic testing
do not necessarily go for testing when available and;
(2) that there is commercial genetic testing that will soon be
available—and MUCH TOO SOON—for schizophrenia.
Particularly the latter is very worrisome as there is NO
definitely proven genetic variation that increases risk for
schizophrenia. Although several genes are now candidates,
results about SNPs in these genes and corresponding haplotypes for risk are still too inconsistent across studies to make
any of them valid for commercial use. In addition, even if there
were certain risk factors, the risk conferred is so small as not to
make these genetic variations candidates for genetic testing
and would only serve to scare families unnecessarily. As is
shown in DeLisi and Bertisch [2006], already families are
frightened into thinking that they should avoid having
*Correspondence to: Lynn E. DeLisi, M.D., Professor of
Psychiatry, 650 First Avenue, New York, New York 10016.
E-mail: DeLisi76@AOL.com
Received 24 January 2006; Accepted 24 January 2006
DOI 10.1002/ajmg.b.30312
ß 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
children for fear of passing the defective gene to offspring
and this is unrealistic given the statistics that the scientists
surveyed know. This is why very few of the researchers in that
study thought testing would provide useful information or that
first degree relatives of someone with schizophrenia should
avoid having children.
In summary, commercial genetic testing for schizophrenia
is not, and may never be scientifically reasonable. The
importance of genetic research on schizophrenia and other
psychiatric illnesses as well, is for understanding the pathophysiological basis of the illness so that a new generation of
etiologically based treatments for eventual early detection and
prevention of illness can be developed.
Lynn E. DeLisi*
Professor of Psychiatry
New York University
School of Medicine
New York, New York
REFERENCE
DeLisi LE, Bertisch HC. 2006. A preliminary comparison of the hopes of
researchers, clinicians, and families for the future ethical use of genetic
findings on schizophrenia. Am J Med Genet Part B: Neuropsychiatr
Genet 141B:110–115.
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