Journal article

Decanalization, brain development and risk of schizophrenia

JJ McGrath, AJ Hannan, G Gibson

Translational Psychiatry | NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP | Published : 2011


Waddington's original description of canalization refers to the ability of an organism to maintain phenotypic fidelity in the face of environmental and/or genetic perturbation. Development of the human brain requires exposure to a 'wild-type' environment-one that supports the optimal set of instructions for development. Recently derived brain structures in our species, such as the expanded neocortex, may be more vulnerable to decanalization because there has been insufficient time to evolve buffering capacity. On the basis of modern notions of decanalization, we provide perspectives on selected environmental and genetic risk factors for schizophrenia, and we discuss strengths and weaknesses ..

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Funding Acknowledgements

We are grateful to Naomi Wray and Linda Richards, who provided helpful comments on early drafts of the manuscript. JM has been supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council and a Rockefeller Bellagio Residency. AJH is supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council and an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship. GG was supported by an Australian Professorial Fellowship.