MIND Partnership To Decode Schizophrenia Genetics

March 29, 2006

Contact: Stephen Kingsmore, President & CEO, National Center for Genome Resources (505) 995-4466, sfk@ncgr.org

John Rasure, CEO, The MIND Institute, (505) 272-5028, j rasure@themindinstitute.org


ALBUQUERQUE , NM - The MIND (Mental Illness and Neuroscience Discovery) Institute and the National Center for Genome Resources (NCGR) announce a pioneering research partnership to identify the genetic basis of schizophrenia.

The Schizophrenia Genome Project (SGP) partnership will combine resources and expertise from these two leading research centers to identify possible schizophrenia predisposition and protection genes, since the risk of developing schizophrenia is widely considered to be directly related to those genes.

Researchers hope to identify common schizophrenia genes by sequencing and analyzing the entire genetic code (3 billion base pairs of DNA) of affected individuals to identify all mutation candidates. Schizophrenia genes will be confirmed by comparing these candidate mutations in both affected and normal individuals. Investigators at the MIND and NCGR will catalog all common gene variants associated with the disease.

"This groundbreaking project builds on years of work by many MIND investigators who have carefully collected the important clinical and brain imaging data that allows for correlation with the exciting new genetic capabilities," says Dr. S. Charles Schulz, chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Minnesota and principal investigator of the MIND Clinical Imaging Consortium.

Never before has the entire human genome been sequenced in a human disease. But neither heretofore has the there been such a comprehensive clinical and brain-imaging database of individuals with schizophrenia that The MIND Institute has compiled. The SGP brings together the multidisciplinary expertise of both organizations NCGR with 12 years of experience in genome sequencing analysis and MIND with its advanced and precise brain imaging technologies toward this effort. Understanding the physiology of schizophrenia will be a starting point for improved diagnosis and patient management, as well as novel therapeutics that target affected genes and pathways.

"The Schizophrenia Genome Project will use next generation genome sequencing and analysis technologies to greatly accelerate advances in understanding schizophrenia," says Dr. Stephen Kingsmore, NCGR president and CEO. "We‘re confident this potent partnership will yield critical information on the diagnosis and treatment of schizophrenia, and possibly the prevention of schizophrenia altogether."

The MIND Institute is a non-profit collaborative partnership, headquartered in Albuquerque , NM , with six partner sites nationwide, that conducts basic neuroscience research, leading to a new understanding of the human brain, treatments and cures.www.themindinstitute.org.

The National Center for Genome Resources is a non-profit research institute dedicated to improving human health and nutrition through collaborative research at the intersection of bioscience, computing and mathematics.www.ncgr.org.

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