Genome-wide association study identifies 74 loci associated with educational attainment.

Okbay A, Beauchamp JP, Fontana MA, Lee JJ, Pers TH, Rietveld CA, Turley P, Chen GB, Emilsson V, Meddens SF, Oskarsson S, Pickrell JK, Thom K, Timshel P, de Vlaming R, Abdellaoui A, Ahluwalia TS, Bacelis J, Baumbach C, Bjornsdottir G, Brandsma JH, Pina Concas M, Derringer J, Furlotte NA, Galesloot TE, Girotto G, Gupta R, Hall LM, Harris SE, Hofer E, Horikoshi M, Huffman JE, Kaasik K, Kalafati IP, Karlsson R, Kong A, Lahti J, van der Lee SJ, deLeeuw C, Lind PA, Lindgren KO, Liu T, Mangino M, Marten J, Mihailov E, Miller MB, van der Most PJ, Oldmeadow C, Payton A, Pervjakova N, Peyrot WJ, Qian Y, Raitakari O, Rueedi R, Salvi E, Schmidt B, Schraut KE, Shi J, Smith AV, Poot RA, St Pourcain B, Teumer A, Thorleifsson G, Verweij N, Vuckovic D, Wellmann J, Westra HJ, Yang J, Zhao W, Zhu Z, Alizadeh BZ, Amin N, Bakshi A, Baumeister SE, Biino G, Bønnelykke K, Boyle PA, Campbell H, Cappuccio FP, Davies G, De Neve JE, Deloukas P, Demuth I, Ding J, Eibich P, Eisele L, Eklund N, Evans DM, Faul JD, Feitosa MF, Forstner AJ, Gandin I, Gunnarsson B, Halldórsson BV, Harris TB, Heath AC, Hocking LJ, Holliday EG, Homuth G, Horan MA, Hottenga JJ, de Jager PL, Joshi PK, Jugessur A, Kaakinen MA, Kähönen M, Kanoni S, Keltigangas-Järvinen L, Kiemeney LA, Kolcic I, Koskinen S, Kraja AT, Kroh M, Kutalik Z, Latvala A, Launer LJ, Lebreton MP, Levinson DF, Lichtenstein P, Lichtner P, Liewald DC, LifeLines Cohort Study , Loukola A, Madden PA, Mägi R, Mäki-Opas T, Marioni RE, Marques-Vidal P, Meddens GA, McMahon G, Meisinger C, Meitinger T, Milaneschi Y, Milani L, Montgomery GW, Myhre R, Nelson CP, Nyholt DR, Ollier WE, Palotie A, Paternoster L, Pedersen NL, Petrovic KE, Porteous DJ, Räikkönen K, Ring SM, Robino A, Rostapshova O, Rudan I, Rustichini A, Salomaa V, Sanders AR, Sarin AP, Schmidt H, Scott RJ, Smith BH, Smith JA, Staessen JA, Steinhagen-Thiessen E, Strauch K, Terracciano A, Tobin MD, Ulivi S, Vaccargiu S, Quaye L, van Rooij FJ, Venturini C, Vinkhuyzen AA, Völker U, Völzke H, Vonk JM, Vozzi D, Waage J, Ware EB, Willemsen G, Attia JR, Bennett DA, Berger K, Bertram L, Bisgaard H, Boomsma DI, Borecki IB, Bültmann U, Chabris CF, Cucca F, Cusi D, Deary IJ, Dedoussis GV, van Duijn CM, Eriksson JG, Franke B, Franke L, Gasparini P, Gejman PV, Gieger C, Grabe HJ, Gratten J, Groenen PJ, Gudnason V, van der Harst P, Hayward C, Hinds DA, Hoffmann W, Hyppönen E, Iacono WG, Jacobsson B, Järvelin MR, Jöckel KH, Kaprio J, Kardia SL, Lehtimäki T, Lehrer SF, Magnusson PK, Martin NG, McGue M, Metspalu A, Pendleton N, Penninx BW, Perola M, Pirastu N, Pirastu M, Polasek O, Posthuma D, Power C, Province MA, Samani NJ, Schlessinger D, Schmidt R, Sørensen TI, Spector TD, Stefansson K, Thorsteinsdottir U, Thurik AR, Timpson NJ, Tiemeier H, Tung JY, Uitterlinden AG, Vitart V, Vollenweider P, Weir DR, Wilson JF, Wright AF, Conley DC, Krueger RF, Davey Smith G, Hofman A, Laibson DI, Medland SE, Meyer MN, Yang J, Johannesson M, Visscher PM, Esko T, Koellinger PD, Cesarini D, Benjamin DJ

Nature 533 (7604) 539-542 [2016-05-26; online 2016-05-11]

Educational attainment is strongly influenced by social and other environmental factors, but genetic factors are estimated to account for at least 20% of the variation across individuals. Here we report the results of a genome-wide association study (GWAS) for educational attainment that extends our earlier discovery sample of 101,069 individuals to 293,723 individuals, and a replication study in an independent sample of 111,349 individuals from the UK Biobank. We identify 74 genome-wide significant loci associated with the number of years of schooling completed. Single-nucleotide polymorphisms associated with educational attainment are disproportionately found in genomic regions regulating gene expression in the fetal brain. Candidate genes are preferentially expressed in neural tissue, especially during the prenatal period, and enriched for biological pathways involved in neural development. Our findings demonstrate that, even for a behavioural phenotype that is mostly environmentally determined, a well-powered GWAS identifies replicable associated genetic variants that suggest biologically relevant pathways. Because educational attainment is measured in large numbers of individuals, it will continue to be useful as a proxy phenotype in efforts to characterize the genetic influences of related phenotypes, including cognition and neuropsychiatric diseases.

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PubMed 27225129

DOI 10.1038/nature17671

Crossref 10.1038/nature17671

mid NIHMS770340

nature17671

pmc PMC4883595