In 10 seconds? A recent study suggests that the origins of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder may lie in elements of our “dark genome” and that products originating from here could be novel drug targets and/or help identify people at high risk for developing either disorder.

Why does finding the regions linked to these diseases matter? Looking at the regions in our DNA associated with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder specifically is of medical importance as these mental illnesses are highly inheritable. By pinpointing the differences between affected and control populations, scientists may be able to find novel targets for therapeutics. Also, early detection of the risk for developing either disorder, which both tend to appear in the late teens at the earliest, may allow for pre-emptive interventions that minimize the negative impact of either disorder on the lives of those with such genetic traits.

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