Genetic individuality is the foundation of personalized medicine, yet its determinants are currently poorly understood. One issue is the difference between monozygotic twins that are assumed identical and have been extensively used in genetic studies for decades . Here, we report genome-wide alterations in two nuclear families each with a pair of monozygotic twins discordant for schizophrenia evaluated by the Affymetrix 6.0 human SNP array. The data analysis includes characterization of copy number variations (CNVs) and single nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs). The results have identified genomic differences between twin pairs and a set of new provisional schizophrenia genes. Samples were found to have between 35 and 65 CNVs per individual. The majority of CNVs (∼80%) represented gains. In addition, ∼10% of the CNVs were de novo (not present in parents), of these, 30% arose during parental meiosis and 70% arose during developmental mitosis. We also observed SNPs in the twins that were absent from both parents. These constituted 0.12% of all SNPs seen in the twins. In 65% of cases these SNPs arose during meiosis compared to 35% during mitosis. The developmental mitotic origin of most CNVs that may lead to MZ twin discordance may also cause tissue differences within individuals during a single pregnancy and generate a high frequency of mosaics in the population. The results argue for enduring genome-wide changes during cellular transmission, often ignored in most genetic analyses
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