Understanding the pathogenesis of neuropsychiatric disorders is a substantial challenge for neurobiologists. It has long been hoped that identifying alleles that confer increased risk of such disorders would provide clues for neurobiological investigation. But this quest has been stymied by a lack of validated biological markers for characterizing and distinguishing the different disorders and by the genetic complexity underpinning these diseases. Now, modern genomic technologies have begun to facilitate the discovery of relevant genes.

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Steven Hyman is Director of the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute and Chair of the Schizophrenia Spectrum Biomarkers Consortium (SSBC), a consortium identifying objective biomarkers to enable better diagnosis of and treatment for schizophrenia and related illnesses.

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