OYM94: C4 Blows the Lid off Schizophrenia

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boomWe’ve got an explosive episode this week: we’re talking about the schizophrenia genetics paper whose press release has got a lot of internet attention recently.

But first, it’s grant deadline crunch time for Liam and Kat and they’re sharing their very different approaches to the writing process.  In between budgets and proposals, Kat’s allowed herself to be distracted by the NEJM editorial piece that introduces the idea of “data authors” and “research parasites”.  It’s a timely warning about the dangers of irresponsible data sharing, given the recent controversy over improperly credited sources in a paper on the Zika virus.

Meanwhile, Liam’s come across a surprising (and alarming) article from STAT news that exposes the lack of transparency with human drug research in the US.  Apparently, even though there are stiff fines from the NIH for those who fail to promptly upload their results, the astounding majority of data doesn’t make it to the federal archive.  Then, after another health podcast recommendation from Liam, it’s onto this week’s paper.

We’re talking about a paper, published in Nature, that uses a clever mix of statistical modelling and cryptogenetics to investigate the functional impact of one of the most highly implicated genetic loci on schizophrenia risk.  We’re both incredibly impressed by the mountains of data pointing to the expression of a specific isoform of the C4 gene as the key functional mediator of decades of genetic linkage studies that have associated the MHC locus with schizophrenia.

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