Schizophrenia is a debilitating mental illness that affects 1% of the population. Despite intensive study, its molecular etiology remains enigmatic. Like many common diseases, schizophrenia is multifactorial in origin, with both genetic and environmental contributions likely playing an important role in the manifestation of symptoms. Recent advances based on pharmacological studies, brain imaging analyses, and genetic research are now converging on tantalizing leads that point to a central role for several neurotransmitters, including dopamine, glutamate, and serotonin, that may interface with neurodevelopmental defects reflecting disease-related genetic aberrations. Here, we provide a brief overview of the parallel approaches being used to identify the molecular causes of schizophrenia and discuss possible directions for future research.
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