This short review portrays the evolutionary theories of aging in the light of the existing discoveries from genomic and molecular genetic studies on aging and longevity. At the outset, an historical background for the development of the evolutionary theories of aging is presented through the works of August Weismann (programmed death and the germ plasm theories) including his exceptional theoretical postulation, later experimentally validated by the existence of cell division limits.
Caloric restriction has resulted in a consistent robust increase in the maximal length of life in mammalian species. This article reviews significant advances over the long history of research on calorie restriction and longevity.
Schizophrenia (SCZ) is a mental disease that affects approximately 1% of the population with life-long devastating consequences. Based on evidence for a major contribution of genetic factors, a decade of extensive efforts has been dedicated to the search of DNA sequence variations that increase the risk to SCZ. Search for genes in rare multiplex SCZ families with a large number of affected individuals and quasi-Mendelian mode of inheritance using genetic linkage methodology has been one of the favorite strategies in psychiatric genetics.
Phenylketonuria is a flagship inborn error of metabolism and has been at the forefront of our growing understanding, diagnosis, and treatment of this family of disorders. In this article, the current understanding of its diagnosis, treatment, and complex molecular biology and physiology is reviewed. Recent papers exploring newer and less well-delineated areas of cofactor supplementation and genetic and epigenetic modification of the genotypic expression are presented. The excitement surrounding the continued exploration of the hyperphenylalaninemias is emphasized.
Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
OBJECTIVE: To comment on the article in this issue of the Journal by Professor Michael Rutter, "Environmentally Mediated Risks for Psychopathology: Research Strategies and Findings," in the context of current research findings on gene-environment interaction, epigenetics, and gene expression. METHOD: Animal and human studies are reviewed that differentiate the role of gene expression in developmental biology and psychopathology as well as studies that begin to specify the biological mechanisms involved in determining how genotype is translated into phenotype.
Although there is evidence to link schizophrenia (SCZ) and bipolar disorder (BD) to genetic and environmental factors, specific individual or groups of genes/factors causative of the disease have been elusive to the research community. An understanding of the molecular aberrations that cause these mental illnesses requires comprehensive approaches that examine both genetic and epigenetic factors.
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is among the most common childhood-onset psychiatric disorders. Although family, twin, and adoption studies demonstrate that ADHD is a highly heritable condition, studies also suggest that genetic architecture is complex, prompting the use of more advanced methodologies such as genome-wide linkage and association studies. Although such studies are theoretically compelling, replication of these results has been inconsistent.