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The Role of Copy Number Variation in Psychiatric Disorders 

The Role of Copy Number Variation in Psychiatric Disorders
The Role of Copy Number Variation in Psychiatric Disorders

Elliott Rees

and George Kirov

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date: 17 May 2022

Copy number variants (CNVs) are deletions, duplications, inversions, or translocations of large DNA segments. They can play a significant role in human disease. Thirteen CNVs have received strong statistical support for involvement in schizophrenia. They are all rare in cases (<1%), much rarer among controls, and have high odds ratios (ORs) for causing disease. The same CNVs also increase risk for autism spectrum disorders, developmental delay, and medical/physical comorbidities. The penetrance of these CNVs for any disorder is relatively high, ranging from 10% for 15q11.2 deletions to nearly 100% for deletions at 22q11.2. Strong selection pressure operates against carriers of these CNVs. Most of these are formed by non-allelic homologous recombination (NAHR), which leads to high mutation rates, thus maintaining the rates of these CNVs in the general population, despite the strong selection forces.

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