Schizophrenia is perhaps the most debilitating mental disease and determining the underlying cause has become a challenging area of psychiatric research. It is relatively well established that genes play a role in the aetiology of schizophrenia. In this article, a review of important findings related to schizophrenia as a genetic trait will be provided, including a discussion of family, twin and adoption studies. Molecular genetic studies of specific candidate genes are then reviewed. Some controversies within the literature are examined and possible directions for future research are discussed.