Genomics of Neurological and Neuropsychiatric Disorders
The long lasting geographical and linguistic isolation, internal migrations, famines and rapid, recent expansions have moulded the population structure of Finland for thousands of years. Such population isolates provide exceptional opportunities for identification of genome variations underlying disease traits. When the unique population structure is combined with the one payer health care system, the harmonized training of physicians and tradition in epidemiological research Finland has become one the most interesting places for genetic epidemiology. The availability of large sample collections (www.nationalbiobanks.fi) has stimulated large international collaborative projects such as the SISu project (Sequencing Initiative Suomi).
Diseases of specific interest in the Palotie group are migraine, schizophrenia, epilepsy and some cardiovascular traits. The wealth of multiple large study samples enables the group to use different study designs for genome variant identification and verification and for the estimation of the size of the effect contributed by the variants. These include large collaborative genome wide association (GWAs) and sequencing studies and studies that utilize family structures and extreme population bottlenecks to identify low frequency variant detection.