Scan statistic-based analysis of exome sequencing data identifies FAN1 at 15q13.3 as a susceptibility gene for schizophrenia and autism. Academic Article uri icon


  • We used a family-based cluster detection approach designed to localize significant rare disease-risk variants clusters within a region of interest to systematically search for schizophrenia (SCZ) susceptibility genes within 49 genomic loci previously implicated by de novo copy number variants. Using two independent whole-exome sequencing family datasets and a follow-up autism spectrum disorder (ASD) case/control whole-exome sequencing dataset, we identified variants in one gene, Fanconi-associated nuclease 1 (FAN1), as being associated with both SCZ and ASD. FAN1 is located in a region on chromosome 15q13.3 implicated by a recurrent copy number variant, which predisposes to an array of psychiatric and neurodevelopmental phenotypes. In both SCZ and ASD datasets, rare nonsynonymous risk variants cluster significantly in affected individuals within a 20-kb window that spans several key functional domains of the gene. Our finding suggests that FAN1 is a key driver in the 15q13.3 locus for the associated psychiatric and neurodevelopmental phenotypes. FAN1 encodes a DNA repair enzyme, thus implicating abnormalities in DNA repair in the susceptibility to SCZ or ASD.

publication date

  • January 7, 2014