The findings showed that the people with the DISC1 mutation caused a part of one chromosome to swap places with another as well as lead to changes in the structure of their brain.
These changes were associated with a significant increase in the risk of psychiatric illness, the researchers said.
“The study confirms and extends the genetics of DISC1, and shows how similar genetic effects can increase the risk of major mental illnesses,” said Stephen Lawrie, Professor at the University of Edinburgh in Britain.
Further, the carriers of these mutations also had lower levels of glutamate — a chemical in certain areas of their brain which can lead to schizophrenia, according to previous studies.
The DISC1 mutation was first identified in a Scottish family that showed unusually high rates of major psychiatric disorders.
Scientists have been studying generations of the family for 40 years but this is the first time they have scanned their brains, said the paper appearing in the journal Schizophrenia.