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Premorbid development in twins with schizophrenia


Premorbid developmental abnormalities have often been reported in patients with schizophrenia but it is not clear whether these are genetic or environmental in origin.

Materials and methods

Twin pairs (n=77) varying in their concordance and zygosity for schizophrenia were assessed for premorbid adjustment and personality. We used bivariate genetic model fitting techniques to quantify the genetic relationship between schizophrenia and developmental abnormalities and to estimate the heritability of these traits


Premorbid deficits in adjustment and personality were associated with schizophrenia. Heritability estimates were greatest for adolescent developmental abnormalities and schizotypal personality traits, while significant genetic and phenotypic correlations for each were detected with schizophrenia.


Premorbid abnormalities of adjustment and personality are detectable in those who will later develop schizophrenia. These deficits reflect the shared influence of the genetic risk for schizophrenia, and could consequently act as endophenotype markers for the disorder.


Supported by the Wellcome Trust (Fellowship 064971 to M.M.P.) and the Stanley Medical Research Institute.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to MM Picchioni.

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Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Picchioni, M., Toulopoulou, T., Regojo, A. et al. Premorbid development in twins with schizophrenia. Ann Gen Psychiatry 7, S256 (2008).

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  • Public Health
  • Schizophrenia
  • Personality Trait
  • Genetic Risk
  • Genetic Relationship