Inside Out: Looking at schizophrenia’s inner chaos  pg. 8

The third study, which began this year, is the effort of the seven-center Consortium on the Genetics of Schizophrenia (COGS), led by the University of California, San Diego. The five-year study will use both cognitive and neurophysiological tests to track six characteristic traits in more than 2,000 individuals, all schizophrenia patients or first-degree relatives.

Knowing the genes at the root of schizophrenia will be useful for designing targeted therapeutics, and may allow for early pharmacological intervention. It may even point the way to future gene therapy.

Yet when heading down such a path, we may want to tread lightly, suggests Park, whose lab is also exploring creative thought as an adaptive reason that the disorder is still in our midst.

“Once we identify a gene or genes, who’s to say they might not also be responsible for divergent thinking and creativity,” she says. “If we turn these genes off, are we going to remove those traits from the human race?”

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