Genetic Consideration of Schizotypal Traits: A Review

Emma E Walter, Francesca Fernandez, Mollie Snelling, Emma Barkus

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34 Citations (Scopus)
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Schizotypal traits are of interest and importance in their own right and also have theoretical and clinical associations with schizophrenia. These traits comprise attenuated psychotic symptoms, social withdrawal, reduced cognitive capacity, and affective dysregulation. The link between schizotypal traits and psychotic disorders has long since been debated. The status of knowledge at this point is such schizotypal traits are a risk for psychotic disorders, but in and of themselves only confer liability, with other risk factors needing to be present before a transition to psychosis occurs. Investigation of schizotypal traits also has the possibility to inform clinical and research pursuits concerning those who do not make a transition to psychotic disorders. A growing body of literature has investigated the genetic underpinnings of schizotypal traits. Here, we review association, family studies and describe genetic disorders where the expression of schizotypal traits has been investigated. We conducted a thorough review of the existing literature, with multiple search engines, references, and linked articles being searched for relevance to the current review. All articles and book chapters in English were sourced and reviewed for inclusion. Family studies demonstrate that schizotypal traits are elevated with increasing genetic proximity to schizophrenia and some chromosomal regions have been associated with schizotypy. Genes associated with schizophrenia have provided the initial start point for the investigation of candidate genes for schizotypal traits; neurobiological pathways of significance have guided selection of genes of interest. Given the chromosomal regions associated with schizophrenia, some genetic disorders have also considered the expression of schizotypal traits. Genetic disorders considered all comprise a profile of cognitive deficits and over representation of psychotic disorders compared to the general population. We conclude that genetic variations associated with schizotypal traits require further investigation, perhaps with targeted phenotypes narrowed to assist in refining the clinical end point of significance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1769
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2016
Externally publishedYes


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