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Biotech Medicine

"Jumping Genes" Linked To Schizophrenia 77

Posted by samzenpus
from the enhance-your-calm dept.
sciencehabit writes "Roaming bits of DNA that can relocate and proliferate throughout the genome, called 'jumping genes,' may contribute to schizophrenia, a new study suggests (abstract). These rogue genetic elements pepper the brain tissue of deceased people with the disorder and multiply in response to stressful events, such as infection during pregnancy, which increase the risk of the disease. The study could help explain how genes and environment work together to produce the complex disorder and may even point to ways of lowering the risk of the disease, researchers say."
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"Jumping Genes" Linked To Schizophrenia

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  • Huh? (Score:5, Funny)

    by mythosaz (572040) on Thursday January 02, 2014 @08:28PM (#45852209)

    These rogue genetic elements pepper the brain tissue of deceased people with the disorder and multiply in response to stressful events, such as infection during pregnancy, which increase the risk of the disease.

    What sort of pregnancies and stressful events are deceased people having?

    • by Dunbal (464142) *
      Believe it or not pregnant women can die too. From any number of causes.
      • by mythosaz (572040)

        Then perhaps the writer of the article should have chosen a better voice to have written his article in.

        As written, these rogue genetic elements multiply in the brain tissue of the deceased in response to stress.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Better or worse than the "normal" type? Watch out for schizophrenic zombies!

        • by unitron (5733)

          Then perhaps the writer of the article should have chosen a better voice to have written his article in.

          As written, these rogue genetic elements multiply in the brain tissue of the deceased in response to stress.

          Or better yet, a better voice in which to have written his article.

          Of course if you're a pregnant schizophrenic zombie, chances are you've got plenty of stress in response to which these rogue genetic elements might multiply.

      • Believe it or not pregnant women can die too. From any number of causes.

        Infection during pregnancy is a risk factor for schizophrenia in the child [schizophrenia.com], not the mother. This is particularly true of influenza.

    • What sort of pregnancies and stressful events are deceased people having?

      Well, zombie births happen all the time. Just ask Cherie Priest.

    • > What sort of pregnancies and stressful events are deceased people having?

      A guy called Dante described quite a lot of stressful events. It depends on where you end up, basically. Paradise good, Hell bad, Limbo rock.

    • What sort of pregnancies and stressful events are deceased people having?

      I can only imagine how stressful it is when you're dead and suddenly find out that you're pregnant. In fact, forget the "dead" part.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I'd say that death would be a very stressful event.

    • by Toad-san (64810)

      Well, becoming deceased might have been stressful at the time. Once the even is over with, however, one would think it smooth sailing.

  • Retroposons (Score:4, Informative)

    by HiChris! (999553) on Thursday January 02, 2014 @08:33PM (#45852251)
    Jumping genes are better known as retroposons. Shame on Science for not explaining this.
    • Jumping genes are better known as retroposons. Shame on Science for not explaining this.

      Also, folks who suffer from schizophrenia actually have very low levels of latent inhibition. This makes them faster to respond to all stimuli, not just novel stimuli.

      Shame of slashdot for not reporting this, either. They really should just give us EVERYTHING when talking about science, ALL at once.

    • Re:Retroposons (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Thursday January 02, 2014 @08:40PM (#45852307) Homepage Journal
      Actually, the L1 element (the specific genetic feature that TFA is about) is a retrotransposon [wikipedia.org], which is functionally different from a retroposon [wikipedia.org]. Transposons [wikipedia.org] are transposable elements ('jumping genes') that include the hardware necessary to move themselves; retroposons lack this ability. Retrotransposons share the "retro" in their name with retroposons because they are both converted into RNA and then back again during the copy process. It is considered incorrect to call a retrotransposon a retroposon, even though functionally they have all of the features of a retroposon (and more).
      • by HiChris! (999553)
        For better or worse (ok probably worse) the L1 elements are frequently referred to as retroposons - do a lit search and you'll see what I mean. I was surprised too.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        I got fooled by those jumping genes once. They just have a worm inside, indeed the hardware necessary to move themselves.

      • To further clarify, retrotransposons do not "pepper the brain tissue". They are confined to the genome which is in the nucleus of a cell.

    • by Intron (870560)

      Jumping genes are better known as retroposons. Shame on Science for not explaining this.

      Why? Do you think just naming something explains it? Has creating the name schizophrenia explained anything? Has that classification improved life for the mentally ill?

      • Not at all - in fact, it's made things worse. The term "schizophrenic" generally means something it isn't to most people - it's aligned with MPD and other disorders which really don't have anything to do with it. Thanks for sticking up for it :) Most people here will just go on there way misunderstanding it based on the name.

      • by Threni (635302)

        Reminds me of: http://www.haveabit.com/feynman/2 [haveabit.com]

    • If a person from south of the border has retroposons, do they have Mexican jumping genes?

  • Everyone moods to be examined at birth, or before. Full testing is the only way!
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Everyone moods

      Have you moo'd today?

    • At which point we can have schizophrenic regenerative therapy. And large numbers of out and proud schizos protesting the evil scientists who want to change them.

  • by Tablizer (95088)

    The genes are not really jumping; you're just hallucinating that.

    • Best attempt at a joke on a mental illness thread I've seen here, ever. At least you understand something about schizophrenia.

  • saying these make up more than 50 percent of the code in your DNA is not something I've seen in medical genetics.

    Perhaps their might be some confusion between "hot spots" or coding mishap regions which cause miRNA, siRNA, mRNA, and cisRNA to recode protein segments in response to environmental conditions, which can include stress (which is a factor, including environmental biochemical stress during pregnancy) and inflammation (which is a severe factor).

    But the statement in the actual article that this is 50

  • "To investigate that question, principal investigator Kazuya Iwamoto, a neuroscientist; Kato; and their team at RIKEN extracted brain tissue of deceased people who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia as well as several other mental disorders, extracted DNA from their neurons, and compared it with that of healthy people"

    Presumably these schizophrenics would have been on long term antipsychotic medication. I wonder would this account for the increase in L1. How were these 'healthy people' defined as 'hea
    • Presumably, but we don't know much about who they were or what their treatment was like. Where they locked up in padded rooms for the vast duration of their lives? There isn't much incentive to do more than sedate them. Were they actively working with a therapist and psychiatrist? Then they'd probably have more access to antipsycotics. Were they plain untreated? Knowing the sample would be very helpful...even in the "treated" population you have a wide array of tools that more often combat symptoms, not jus

  • A diagnosis of schizophrenia is indicated when getting rid of a rival sibling in an inheritance dispute or an obstreperous wife in societies where divorce isn't allowed. Read up on R.D Lang [wikipedia.org] and Thomas S. Szasz [wikipedia.org], they both state that the mental health industry is bogus.
    • Another diagnosis would be along the lines of "periods of psychosis," happening more than once, for an extended amount of time. Tack on some emotional bits for the "schizoaffective" aspect. A diagnosis of anything can and has been used for all sorts of nefarious reasons, but just because someone fakes a cold to get out of work, it doesn't mean that all people sneezing and coughing are liars.

  • TFA says

    One tantalizing possibility is that as these restless bits of DNA drift throughout the genomes of human brain cells, they help create the vibrant cognitive diversity that helps humans as a species respond to changing environmental conditions, and produces extraordinary "outliers," including innovators and geniuses such as Picasso,

    But didn't they observe the same thing on mices?

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